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Global Startup Ecosystem Index 2021


A Word from StartupBlink CEO������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 3

Introducing the Global Startup Ecosystem Index������������������������������������������������ 5

Our Ecosystem Partners������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 8

Methodology ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������11

Key Insights from the 2021 Report����������������������������������������������������������������������18

Global Startup Ecosystem Index: Top Countries and Cities�����������������������������26

Regional Analysis����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������34

Top 100 Countries Overview��������������������������������������������������������������������������������46

City Ecosystems in Unranked Countries����������������������������������������������������������� 254

Top Island Cities��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 257

Ranking by Subscore������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 259

City Subrankings by Population Tier����������������������������������������������������������������� 263

Industry Analysis and Rankings������������������������������������������������������������������������� 267

Countries Ecosystem Variety������������������������������������������������������������������������������ 294

Ecosystem Ranking by Number of Special Entities���������������������������������������� 297

Ecosystem Case Studies������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 299

Our Global Data Partners ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 316

Advisors and Team���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 322

Our Services��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 332

Parting Words������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 333

A Word from StartupBlink CEO

2021 is a year of accelerated change.

As the world manages to slowly but surely innovate its way
out of a devastating pandemic, it is clear that a new reality
has emerged. Firstly, trends such as E-commerce and
remote work have accelerated at unprecedented speed,
accelerating us toward an inevitable future where our digital
presence is at times more dominant than our physical
Secondly, major geopolitical changes are underway. A few
startup ecosystems (notably China) are in the process of
decoupling from the global startup ecosystem. Our rankings
show that those efforts are so far successful, as Chinese cities rapidly close gaps with their
western counterparts. However, we believe that this process of disconnection will not be
beneficial in the long run, and hope that startup ecosystems in most countries will stay
open and connected. Local ecosystems are beautiful and unique, but cloistering them
from the world also reduces personal freedom, restricting innovation, which hampers
achievement when compared to a collaborative global environment. Countries closing
their ecosystems should remember that innovation and science offered a path out of
the crisis, as teams from all over the world labored together to come up with innovative
treatments and vaccines.
Last year, as we published the report, we encouraged startups to aggressively push
forward at full speed, as every crisis offers substantial opportunities for innovation and
creativity, especially in an increasingly digital world. We still believe that entrepreneurship
allows you to become a true explorer of the world, improving on the status quo and
bringing your unique art to life. This year, we encourage startup founders to reconnect with
the physical world as the pandemic recedes into history.
We should all focus on restoring and rebuilding our networks via social interaction, which
has been severely limited since the outbreak of the pandemic. Successful founders will
leverage their networks and friendships as they build their startups. We simply cannot
achieve greatness on our own, stuck in front of screens. When possible, let’s get out
there, participate in meetups and events, retrain our atrophied social muscles, and create
connections that will prove critical for both our companies and our emotional well being.
As the year progresses, we should all rethink our location. The fantasy of building high
impact cloud-based startups using only zoom calls is enticing, but not practical. Where
we base ourselves is critical. A great startup ecosystem will expand your network, improve
your ability to tap into valuable and updated knowledge, facilitate meetings with co-
founders and team members, introduce you to potential investors, and above all inspire
and motivate you with daily connections to like-minded entrepreneurs.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 3

As the world slowly reopens, now is the best time to dedicate some mindspace to
the following question:

Are you based in the right startup ecosystem?

We have done most of this analysis for you. At StartupBlink, we have been running
dozens of iterations on our algorithms, powered by vast databases and extensive
theoretical knowledge, all with the goal of giving our readers the most updated
and comprehensive global rankings of startup ecosystems. Now it’s your turn to
take action. Your current location is sometimes a golden cage that is hard to leave,
and the price you pay when based in an underperforming startup ecosystem is not
always evident. However, being in a great ecosystem will pay ongoing dividends
in the form of influential encounters with people who can transform your business
or career. We know some of you are not in a position to relocate, even if your
ecosystem is underperforming. In this case, we advise you to take an active part in
connecting and building your startup ecosystem together with your fellow local
entrepreneurs and, hopefully, public sector support. The pie will get bigger for
everyone involved. As we always say, if you are in an underperforming ecosystem,
you should either leave it or lead it.
Over the past year we have worked closely with dozens of startup ecosystem
developers from the public sector. The initial intuition for many of them was
to play defense until the storm passes; to focus less on strategy and more on
tactical activities to save struggling startups. We believe this is a mistake. Startup
ecosystems are built on narratives and stories. COVID-19, with all its implications
on remote work and the digital economy, is creating unprecedented opportunities
that must be harnessed by both cities and countries. Now is the time to promote
and develop your startup ecosystem. The economic and geopolitical benefits for
countries who were early builders of startup ecosystems are immense; join them
with determination and a clear growth strategy so your ecosystem may attract more
startups and investors while avoiding brain drain. Our message to local startup
ecosystem developers is as follows:

Your local entrepreneurs are talented enough to create

magic. Make sure the infrastructure of your startup
ecosystem is ready for them.

Eli David
CEO, StartupBlink

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 4

Introducing the Global
Startup Ecosystem Index

The Global Startup Ecosystem Index by StartupBlink has

been updated annually since 2017 and is the world’s most
comprehensive startup ecosystem ranking of:

1000 cities and 100 countries

The Global Startup Ecosystem Index is built using hundreds of thousands of data points
processed by an algorithm which takes into account several dozens of parameters, as
explained in the Methodology section. In addition to the supplementation of data from
various global data partners, our Ecosystem Index is integrated with the interactive and
crowdsourced StartupBlink Global Startup Ecosystem Map. The map, updated since
2013, provides a strong sample of the stakeholders in each startup ecosystem. Our
recently redesigned and upgraded platform now provides unique dashboards for all the
ranked startup ecosystems.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 5

The Index is used annually by hundreds of thousands startup founders, startup ecosystem
developers, corporations, and other stakeholders to support critical decisions about
strategy, relocation, and investment. StartupBlink is using the index and its vast data sets
in various analyses and policy advising projects related to startup ecosystem development
for dozens of governments and international organizations.
There are multiple sources of data used to build the index. Firstly, the global map is
crowdsourced with tens of thousands of startup related entities. StartupBlink also works
closely with numerous global data partners, such as Crunchbase, Semrush, and Meetup,
to supplement data from these unique databases. In addition, nearly 100 Ecosystem
Partners worldwide, most of which are Government agencies, are feeding data into their
unique and customized local startup portals. Finally, substantial data is received from the
deployment of white labeled Startup Portals using StartupBlink technology, such as “The
Global Fintech Map” and the “COVID-19 Innovations Map.”
Interactive ranking tables with all ecosystems, including the 1000 top-ranked cities
worldwide, are available in the section below the StartupBlink Global Map.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 6

This year’s report introduces several new analyses that we believe you, our readers, will be
excited about.
First, this year we have integrated a “notable startups” section in each country. Many of
these startups have already achieved massive success, some will soon, and some may still
fail dramatically.
Second, our much-awaited industries analysis enriches our ranking with an alternative
perspective, ranking startup ecosystems based on their performance in specific industries,
such as Fintech, E-commerce & Retail Technology, Education Technology and more.
Third, we provide recognition to the achievements of certain startup ecosystems:
1. Cities that are ranked among the top 1000 ecosystems in the world, despite their
country not holding a place in the top 100 countries;

2. Ecosystems which outperform in producing Unicorns and Pantheons, i.e. companies

that have a very strong positive impact on the ecosystem’s performance; and

3. Countries that outperform in the variety of their city ecosystems, i.e. countries that
managed to produce a higher than average number of successful startup ecosystems
per capita, showing that innovation is widely distributed in the country and not
centralized around one or a few major cities.

The results of the Index will always remain free for the general public. Raw and processed
data of hundreds of ecosystems in excel format, customized analysis of specific ecosystems
by demand, and enhanced access to filters and dashboards on the StartupBlink map
are available for Pro users. We would like to thank our Pro members for supporting
independent innovation research.
It is also important to note that the views presented in this report belong to StartupBlink,
and are not necessarily shared by any of our partners or advisors.
We would like to thank our data contributors from around the world who help us improve
the accuracy of the Index. If you are interested in joining our contributors team, please
apply here.
StartupBlink is hosting a periodic free and open to the public Quarterly Ecosystem
Summit where we discuss topics related to startup ecosystem development and host
pitching for multiple ecosystems. We also release a Startup Ecosystem Development
Podcast that we hope is useful for those interested in the topic.
Our work is constantly improved by feedback from you, our readers. If you have any
feedback, feel free to contact us via this form or email us at Feedback@StartupBlink.Com

Ziv Baida, PhD

Report Editor

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 7

Introducing Our Ecosystem Partners

StartupBlink works together with dozens of ecosystem partners

who actively support the growth of their startup ecosystem.

 Oficina | Innovation Hub [ Albania ]  Startup Macedonia [ North Macedonia ]
 City of Antwerp [ Belgium ]  Lunar Logic [ Poland ]
 City of Ghent [ Belgium ]  Made in Lisboa [ Portugal ]
 Bansko Coworking [ Bulgaria ]  Ministry of Economy & Startup Portugal [ Portugal ]
 PORIN [ Croatia ]  SeedBlink [ Romania ]
 Copenhagen Capacity [ Denmark ]  Moscow Agency of Innovations [ Russia ]
 Startup Estonia [ Estonia ]  EWDN (East West Digital News) [ Russia ]
 Provence Promotion, Marseille [ France ]  Digital Serbia Initiative [ Serbia ]
 Choose Paris Region [ France ]  PROEXCA – Canary Islands Hub [ Spain ]
 Digital Greenhouse Guernsey [ Guernsey ]  Bizkaia Bilbao [ Spain ]
 SpinLab – The HHL Accelerator (Leipzig) [ Germany ]  Alto Comisionado Para Espana Nacion Emprendedora [ Spain ]
 next media accelerator GmbH [ Germany ]  Digital Switzerland [ Switzerland ]
 Limerick Institute of Technology [ Ireland ]  BaselArea Innovation [ Switzerland ]
 Steptech Park [ Italy ]  Izmir Ministry of Industry and Technology [ Turkey ]
 LVenture Group (Rome) [ Italy ]  Ministry of Technology - Istanbul [ Turkey ]
 Digital Jersey [ Jersey ]  Start Ist [ Turkey ]
 Digital Liechtenstein [ Liechtenstein ]  Ukraine Startup Fund [ Ukraine ]
 Startup Lithuania [ Lithuania ]  UNIT.City [ Ukraine ]
 Kaunastic [ Lithuania ]  Invest in Nottingham [ United Kingdom ]
 Tech.Mt [ Malta ]  Opportunity Peterborough [ United Kingdom ]
 Brainport Eindhoven [ The Netherlands ]

Asia & Pacific

 Sunshine Coast Innovation [ Australia ]  Digital Penang [ Malaysia ]
 Melbourne Angels [ Australia ]  SIDIA of Ulaanbaatar [ Mongolia ]
 Impactors Connect [ Bangladesh ]  Department of Trade and Industry [ Philippines ]
 Female Innovators Hub [ Bangladesh ]  QBO Manila [ Philippines ]
 Department of Innovation and Entrepreneurship  Enterprise Singapore [ Singapore ]
Bangladesh [ Bangladesh ]  Global Entrepreneurs Foundation [ South Korea ]
 State of Mahahastra Mehar Zariwala [ India ]  Born2Global [ South Korea ]
 JETRO Kyoto [ Japan ]  Information and Communication Technology Agency
 Kyoto Prefecture [ Japan ] (ICTA) [ Sri Lanka ]
 Fukuoka City Hall [ Japan ]  Taiwan Tech Arena [ Taiwan ]
 Astana Hub [ Kazakhstan ]

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 8

Introducing Our Ecosystem Partners

Middle East
 Eilat Hub [ Israel ]  J-Next [ Israel ]
 Yokneam [ Israel ]  Sheraa Hub [ United Arab Emirates ]
 Hub Ashdod [ Israel ]  Unbound Innovation [ United Arab Emirates ]
 Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) [ Israel ]

 Angola iSummit 2020 [ Angola ]
 Kenya National Innovation Agency [ Kenya ]
 Cabo Verde Digital [ Cape Verde ]
 Fate Foundation [ Nigeria ]
 Cairo Angels [ Egypt ]
 Response Innovation Lab [ Somalia ]
 Amole [ Ethiopia ]
 Namibia Investment Promotion & Startups Namibia,
 Ghana Startup Network [ Ghana ] Windhoek [ Namibia ]
 Kenya Innovation Association [ Kenya ]

North America
 Select USA [ USA ]  Alliance for Southern California Innovation [ USA ]
 City of Denver [ USA ]  Global Startup Movement [ USA ]
 Minnesota Department of Economic Development [ USA ]  Kingston Economic Development [ Canada ]
 World Business Chicago [ USA ]  Queens University [ Canada ]
 Maryland Department of Commerce [ USA ]  Bonjour Startup Montreal [ Canada ]
 Innovate Coalition [ USA ]  Quebec International [ Canada ]
 Invest Puerto Rico [ USA ]  Vancouver Economic Commission [ Canada ]

South America
 Buenos Aires Ciudad [ Argentina ]  Camara de Commercio de Cali [ Colombia ]
 Cordoba Local Government [ Argentina ]  PRO Panama [ Panama ]
 Invest São Paolo [ Brazil ]  National Innovation Authority [ Panama ]
 State of Minas Gerias [ Brazil ]  Ministry of Production [ Peru ]
 Invest Rio [ Brazil ]

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 9

StartupBlink Global Data Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 10


In this section we explain our methodology for producing the

Global Startup Ecosystem Index.
We will start with guiding principles, provide relevant definitions, and then discuss the
elements comprising each section of the total score.

Guiding Principles
To ensure that the rankings are as accurate as possible, we have based our algorithm on
objective, quantifiable data that can be comparatively measured across regions, countries,
and cities. We refrained from using subjective tools such as surveys and interviews, and
instead utilized data that was either accumulated directly from the StartupBlink map or has
arrived from an integration with a reliable global data partner.
We allow as few assumptions as possible regarding cause and effect and focus on one
thing: measuring results. We avoid relying on any theoretical models assuming the causes
of success for startup ecosystems. Our experience in ecosystem consulting shows that
no two ecosystems are alike; policies and practices that are successful in one ecosystem
can be disastrous in another. It should be noted that the index does not measure urban
innovation or implementation of advanced policies related to city development. It focuses
instead on the output of entrepreneurial innovation developed in each location.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 11

Most algorithms employed on an annual basis face a trade-off between maintaining the
consistency of the algorithm and innovating on new elements to improve or adapt the
algorithm to changing business environments. We have always leaned towards constantly
improving our algorithm so stakeholders can rely on our results to make sound decisions.
An algorithm cannot remain unaltered forever, since reality continually changes and so
do startup ecosystems. Every year our algorithm is more accurate, but it should be noted
that the momentum change of each ecosystem is influenced by algorithm improvements
in addition to frequent refreshing of our data sets. For users who prioritize continuity,
simulations of results based on past algorithms can be made available.
We have been sampling ecosystem data on the curated and interactive StartupBlink
Global Map, which enables us to test and perfect our algorithm based on vast sets of data.
We estimate that our core dataset is a representative sample covering 10%-15% of the total
relevant entities in the global startup ecosystem. In addition, hundreds of thousands of
entities and data integrations that are taken into account via our global data partners. Each
location’s final score is based on the exact same algorithm. However, we are aware that our
sample size fluctuates depending on location and data sourcing. Our only intervention in
the score is discounting locations where we determined that the sample size of the entities
is higher than average. In order to solve issues with lower than average sample size, we
have partnered with nearly 100 Ecosystem Partners, most of which are Government
agencies and many of them in locations where our data is limited, granting them admin
access to the datasets in their ecosystems. We offer our readers from the public sector
access to the StartupBlink Global Map at no cost. For more information, please contact us
at Feedback@StartupBlink.com
It should be noted that the Index is comparative. An ecosystem which has decreased in
its rankings has not necessarily performed worse overall than last year. The decrease may
simply reflect faster growth of other ecosystems climbing the rankings.
Organizations interested in a deeper analysis of the algorithm are invited to obtain a
StartupBlink Pro account, which offers packages of raw data for all ecosystems, access to
unique filters on the map, data exporting options, and customized analysis or “blood tests”
of selected ecosystems across dozens of parameters.

What is a Startup?

We define a startup as any business that applies an

innovative solution which validates a scalable economical

The innovation can be a product or service, process, or business model. Since this
definition is not quantitative, our team manually evaluates each candidate registering on
the startup map. Entities without a unique innovation, such as non technological service
providers, digital forums built on white-labeled existing technology, and local directories
such as simple lists of real estate or jobs listings will not be taken into consideration for the

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 12

We do not consider the age of the entity or the size of its team as relevant criteria for
determining startup innovation. However, companies which went through an IPO and
are publicly traded, and startups which “exited”, or received investments in total valuation
above $1 Billion US, will not be categorized as startups but will still influence the rankings
as a special entity.

Other Stakeholders and entities

Aside from startups, a few other stakeholders are taken into consideration by our
algorithm. The obvious ones are accelerators and coworking spaces, both of which
facilitate and contribute to the growth of an ecosystem.
Our algorithm also takes into account special entities which have “graduated” as startups.
These entities include Unicorns and Exits of all sorts in total valuation of over $1 Billion
US. Unicorns are critical success stories which not only increase the capital flow to the
ecosystem, but also tend to boost the ecosystem with a powerful story of success which
draws more potential entrepreneurs and encourages investors to pour into the location.
We should note that our team applies additional filters to Unicorns and Exits, as we
disregard entities which are corporate spin-offs or were created by governments.
Another special entity we take into consideration are the more than 150 Pantheon
organizations we are now tracking globally, and which can be viewed on the StartupBlink
map. Pantheons are a newly coined category that includes companies like SpaceX,
Microsoft, and Netflix; companies that are no longer a startup or a unicorn, but still have
a substantial impact on their startup ecosystem. Organizations such as Ycombinator,
StartupChile, and the Estonian E-Residency program are also considered Pantheons as
their trailblazing initiatives impact the growth and legacy of their ecosystems.
One more factor taken into account in the quality score is the presence of 130 global
startup influencers with impact reaching far beyond their local ecosystem. These
influencers are usually CEOs of successful companies, but in some cases they include
leading figures in self funding methodologies or thought leaders in specific technologies.
A city where an influencer like Bill Gates or Elon Musk resides creates an allure that
attracts more entrepreneurs and investors to the ecosystem. 75% of global influencers are
currently in the United States, revealing the disproportionate global and cultural influence
of this ecosystem. We hope other countries will produce more of these mega high-tech
heroes, as they are needed globally for inspiration, financing, and narrative building.

Determining location for Startups

Determining a startup location in today’s global economy can be a daunting task, because
locations can change as each startup evolves. Our guiding principle here is determining
which ecosystem pushed it to become what it is today, or in other words, by asking: where
did the magic happen? In some cases, this ecosystem would not be the current home
of the startup. For example, if a startup was founded and scaled in Finland, retains much
of its development team there, and moved their official headquarters to San Francisco
for business or tax reasons, we would lean toward attributing it to Finland. Those of you
browsing the StartupBlink map might be surprised to see the locations of some notable
startups and Unicorns in unexpected locations. The decision to use these locations was
made after examining the history and current status of the startup.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 13

Distinction between Countries and Cities Rankings
We provide two sets of rankings, the first is for countries, and the second is for individual
ecosystems nestled within the cities. We have capped the number of countries at 100 and
the number of cities at 1000.
Although our database includes additional locations, we find that accuracy decreases the
lower an ecosystem is ranked, generally due to the limited number of relevant entities in
low-ranked locations. In some cases, the trends of city and country rankings might be in
opposition; this can happen for a variety of reasons. One notable difference is that only
our country rankings take into account population size, ensuring we adjust expectations
from countries with relatively low populations in comparison to countries with larger
StartupBlink also clusters cities together when they are part of the same urban
environment. The most obvious example of this is the San Francisco Bay Area, which
includes multiple cities, like San Jose and Palo Alto. The same is done in cities around the
world, since those locations are part of the same ecosystem. In 2021, many ecosystems
were clustered together, resulting in increased rankings in locations such as Provo in the
USA or Rhine-Neckar in Germany.
By clustering urban locations as one city, and not taking into account the population size
of the cities in the algorithm, we might seem to be giving an unfair advantage to bigger
cities. The truth is that these cities enjoy an advantage in reality, not only in our algorithm.
Bigger cities, from the sheer quantity of entrepreneurs and economic activity, are simply
more likely to do better than smaller cities. However, if you use our population filter in the
ranking tables, some inspiring examples of small cities punching above their weight are
clearly evident; notable examples include Santa Barbara, California (USA), Yokneam (Israel),
Tallinn (Estonia) and Boulder, Colorado (USA).
Another important element which provides a ranking advantage to startup ecosystems
is the size of the domestic market. Ecosystems with a massive population and market
can scale startups much larger without competing internationally. Examples include
ecosystems in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. Results from
these countries reflect massive potential, but please note that these might not be the best
locations to relocate to unless you plan to target their domestic markets.

Total Score Ingredients

Each location has a total score, which is the sum of 3 scores measuring Quantity, Quality,
and Business environment. A specific analysis of Subscore Results is available later in this

Quantity Quality environment

The main importance of the total score is comparative. It is not only used as a mechanism
for sorting and ranking ecosystems, but also provides insights on the gaps between
ecosystems in absolute terms.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 14

1. Quantity Score

The core question of the Quantity score is: How many?

A robust startup ecosystem not only comprises startups, but must have supporting
organizations that provide resources, networking, and access to capital. The Quantity score
checks the activity level of an ecosystem through its stakeholders and other signals.
Among the elements taken into account for the calculation of the Quantity score are:
 Number of Startups
 Number of Coworking Spaces
 Number of Accelerators
 Number of Startup related Meetups
Some of this data is supplemented from our Global Data Partners, mainly from Meetup and

2. Quality of startups
and other supporting organizations
We have used numerous integrations with partners, such as
Semrush and CrunchBase, and hundreds of thousands of data
points to analyze the Quality of each startup ecosystem.
Among the elements taken into account for the calculation of the Quality score are:
 Traction of over 70,000 entities in all ecosystems (including traffic, domain authority,
customer base)
 Presence of branches and R&D centers of International Technology Corporations
 Branches of multinational companies (e.g. WeWork spaces)
 Total private sector investment in thousands of startup ecosystems
 Number of employees per startup
 Presence of Unicorns, Exits, and Pantheon companies
 Presence of Global Startup Influencers
 Global startup events (e.g WebSummit)

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 15

3. Business environment

The third and final factor affecting the rankings is unique, since it
focuses on general indicators connected to infrastructure, business
environment, ecosystem critical mass, and the ability to freely
operate as a startup founder in each country.
The Business Environment score, to which we shortly refer as Business score, is mainly
focused on parameters at the country level, since national infrastructure, policies, and
legislation generally affects all cities within a country.
The main component of the Business score is a weighted average which takes into account
a broad range of elements within each country, as presented in the list below. In addition,
the Business score also measures a threshold of critical mass in both quantity and quality
across all ecosystems, which can explain the difference in score between cities in the same
As our policy is to avoid assumptions on the causes influencing the success of an
ecosystem, we do our best to avoid indicators that might have an ambiguous influence,
and only take into account those which are clearly negative or positive. For example,
painfully slow internet, or massive restrictions in internet use, will most likely form an
obstacle to the growth of the ecosystem. On the other hand, we disregard elements like
cost of living, since its influence can be both positive and negative on an ecosystem.
Among the elements taken into account for the calculation of the Business score in each
ecosystem are:
 Ease of Doing Business and registering companies
 Internet Speed
 Internet Freedom
 R&D investment
 Availability of various technological services (payment portals, ride-sharing apps,
 Number of patents per capita
 Level of English proficiency

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 16

Notable Algorithm Changes in 2021
As mentioned before, StartupBlink is constantly innovating and changing its algorithms to
prioritize accuracy. The main changes in the 2021 Index are as follows: first, to give more
weight to B2B startups, we are taking into consideration the number of employees of the
startups in each ecosystem. This allows us to balance the strong traction ingredient of the
algorithm which usually favours B2C startups (typically, B2C websites have more traffic than
B2B websites).
An additional major change is the integration of private investment in thousands of startup
ecosystems as an important new part of the datasets used for the algorithm.
This year we have also substantially increased the data gathering and algorithm
importance of the R&D centers of international corporations across hundreds of
In the Business score, we have added more parameters related to the availability of various
technological services (payment portals, ride-sharing apps, cryptocurrency), as well as
patent applications, and English proficiency.

Additional Rankings Methodology

This year, StartupBlink introduces a beta version of 12 industry rankings in addition to the
global startup ecosystem rankings. The Methodology used for these rankings is identical to
the algorithm of the global rankings, while taking into account information about startups
from the relevant industry. Most of these industry rankings are still in their beta phase, and
the specific results for each industry (e.g. Health Technology, Foodtech, Hardware & IoT)
can be seen in the Industries section of this report.
However, two sets of audited industry rankings are built on official Ecosystem Portals,
which include deeper algorithm changes that are customized according to the specific
characteristics of the industry. The first audited rankings sort cities and countries for
COVID-19 Innovation (based on the COVID-19 innovation map done in partnership with
HIEX by UNAIDS). The second audited rankings are for the Fintech industry (based on
Findexable’s Global Fintech Map).

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 17

Key Insights from the 2021 Report

In this section we present the most notable insights identified from

the 2021 country and city rankings.

Relevant regional insights are discussed when applicable, in the context of their respective
countries. A more detailed regional analysis is provided in a separate chapter.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 18

Trends in Top 20 Countries


1. United States

2. United Kingdom

3. Israel

4. Canada

5. Germany

6. Sweden

7. China

8. Switzerland

9. Australia

10. Singapore

11. Netherlands

12. France

13. Estonia

14. Finland

15. Spain

16. Lithuania

17. Russia

18. Ireland

19. South Korea

20. India

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 19

Country Rankings Insights

The Top 10
The top 5 countries have all maintained their rank from last year, however, there are several
deep changes and interesting insights.
 Firstly, the United States maintains a massive lead over the 2nd ranked United
Kingdom, showing a strong and dominant innovation scene across the 267 USA cities
ranked in this report. Last year, the UK had a relatively large lead over the 3rd ranked
country Israel, but this difference has now narrowed substantially with the UK and Israel
having almost the same total score. For the first time since 2017, it seems that Brexit
does have some negative influence on the UK ecosystem, which can also be seen in the
rankings decline of London (more on that below). One more interesting development
is a change in the group which we refer to as the “Big 4” Startup Ecosystems: the US,
UK, Israel, and Canada. Canada is still ranked 4th, but it is now much closer to the solid
ecosystem of Germany at the 5th spot than to the UK and Israel. Therefore, we can now
relabel the term our “Big 3” club, led by the US with a massive gap over both the UK
and Israel.

 At spot 6 globally, we see the emergence of the mature and successful ecosystem of
Sweden, jumping an impressive 4 spots to now rank as the 2nd best EU country after
Germany. Sweden, like Israel, demonstrates that a relatively small country can become
a major international player. At 7th, China has blazed its way into the top 10 global
countries, with a jump of 7 spots, and with no less than 19 cities as new entrants in this
year’s top 1000 cities ranking. China’s work in closing the gap with the top countries is

 At spot 8 globally is the rock-solid ecosystem of Switzerland, which has ranked 8th in
every StartupBlink Report since 2017. At 9th is Australia, ranked 5th at its zenith in 2019,
now backsliding 2 additional spots. Joining the top 10 countries for the first time ever is
the fast growing and impressive startup ecosystem of Singapore, climbing 6 spots this

From 11 to 20
In the countries ranked 11-20 there are three notable changes.
 Firstly, the notable decrease of the Netherlands startup ecosystem, losing 5 spots this
year to be ranked 11th globally. This is mainly due to the decrease of Amsterdam’s
startup ecosystem, although other Dutch cities have had a substantial increase in their
rankings this year.

 The bad news for Europe continues with the substantial drop of the Spanish startup
ecosystem by 6 spots, now ranked 15th globally.

 Last but not least, India has made a happy return to the top 20 countries, increasing by
3 spots this year.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 20

From 21 to 50
 Leaving the top 20, Brazil is now ranked 24th in the world, after dropping 4 spots.
The UAE is now a top 25 global country and had one of the most impressive rank
increases this year, jumping by a staggering 18 spots to rank 25th. Taiwan has a major
achievement of bringing 6 new cities into the ranking this year, boasting a 4 spot jump
to rank 26th globally.

 Another notable increase is New Zealand’s jump of 14 spots to rank 33rd globally.
Additionally, both Malaysia, which has increased 8 spots to be ranked 40th, and
Indonesia, with a 9 spot increase to 45th, showed strong performances in the Asia-
Pacific region.

 For the first time since this report was published, we have an African country in the top
50. South Africa has increased 4 spots to be ranked 48th globally. Rounding off the
top 50, Slovenia has fallen 11 spots to rank 46th, while Hungary has had a substantial
decrease of 12 spots to 49th.

From 51 to 100
 The biggest surprise and a major achievement of the South American startup
ecosystem was Uruguay’s jump of 15 spots to rank 51st globally. Both Serbia and
Greece have suffered significant setbacks and are now respectively ranked 53rd and
54th globally.

 A notable increase in Africa is Nigeria, which leapt 5 spots to now rank 63rd globally.
The Arab world had a great year and has continued a positive trend with Jordan
increasing 3 spots to rank 64th, Bahrain moving up 9 spots to rank 66th, Egypt climbing
11 spots to rank 70th, and Saudi Arabia jumping 17 spots to rank 71st.

 With their debut in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index, Costa Rica has established
itself at 72nd and Mauritius at 73rd. We’ve also seen great results from Kazakhstan,
increasing 10 spots to rank 76th. For the first time in the ranking, and completing the
top 100, Namibia is ranked 99th and the vibrant seed ecosystem of Ethiopia is ranked
100th globally.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 21

Trends in Top 20 Cities


1. San Francisco Bay

2. New York

3. Beijing

4. Los Angeles Area

5. London

6. Boston Area

7. Shanghai

8. Tel Aviv Area

9. Moscow

10. Bangalore

11. Paris

12. Seattle

13. Berlin

14. New Delhi

15. Tokyo

16. Mumbai

17. Chicago

18. Austin

19. Washington DC Area

20. São Paulo

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 22

Cities Rankings Insights

The Top 10
 The top two startup ecosystems remain the same as they were last year: San Francisco
and New York. San Francisco is the “supernova” of startup ecosystems, evidenced
by its total score, which is almost 3 times higher than New York. However, this may
eventually change. In 2019, San Francisco’s total score was 5 times more than its
sequential ecosystem, in 2020 its total score was 4 times higher, and now it is less
than 3 times higher. Although the Bay Area remains unmatched in raw startup power,
the rate at which other cities are closing the gap is staggering. If this trend continues,
history will not judge kindly those who have allowed this ecosystem to lose its startup
Mecca status. Like last year, New York deserves congratulations for building the second
strongest global ecosystem.

 Considering how competitive the environment is between top ecosystems, the newly
ranked 3rd global ecosystem is nothing less than a tectonic shift in the innovation
landscape. Beijing, now ranked 3rd after increasing 3 spots, is proof that the Chinese
model of innovation is working. The sheer market size of China and its unique political
and civil structures allowed it to build successful and isolated ecosystems, with
advantages in data gathering, AI, and other sectors.

 Ranked 4th globally is Los Angeles, a city which is becoming much more than an
entertainment hub, and is now a truly robust global technological leader outranking
ecosystems like London and Boston.

 London, ranked 5th, is facing a challenging environment. Since 2017, it stood its
ground as the 3rd ranked ecosystem globally. London’s 2 spot decrease this year
signals a future where it may no longer be a massive and uniquely successful global
startup ecosystem, and will be constantly challenged by numerous American and Asian
cities. Boston, ranked 6th, could not keep up with the excellent results of Beijing and
Los Angeles, giving up 2 spots but still holding strong as a global leader. At 7th is an
additional Chinese city, Shanghai, solidifying its position as a leading global hub and
offering more proof of the outstanding growth rate of Chinese ecosystems. Since 2017,
we have named the leading group of cities as the “Big 5”, since these cities showed
substantial total score gaps above subsequent cities. In 2021, the total score analysis
shows that leading cities in defensible positions are now the “Big 7”, as both Beijing and
Shanghai have joined this prominent group.

 The total score gaps of cities ranked lower than the “Big 7“ is much smaller; situations
are fluid and can change rapidly. Closing the top 10 cities are 3 ecosystems which
offer totally unique models and strategies for growth. At 8th, Tel Aviv is an international
ecosystem representing the startup nation of Israel. At 9th is Moscow, a powerful hub
with outstanding talent, but a more domestically driven ecosystem, catering mainly to
the massive Russian market, albeit with the potential to go global if the geopolitical
situation allows. At 10th, after increasing 4 spots, is the splendid ecosystem of
Bangalore, a hybrid model of an international hub which also enjoys the advantages of
the massive local market in India.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 23

From 11 to 50
Outside of the top 10 ecosystems, some exciting trends are unfolding.
 Firstly, Paris, ranked 11th globally, is now the highest ranked EU startup ecosystem.
This was due to London leaving the EU, as well as a sharp 5 spot decline of the Berlin
startup ecosystem, now ranking 13th after Seattle. Another notable shift in the top 20
ecosystems is Mumbai’s increase of 6 spots to 16th, the 3rd highest ecosystem in India,
while New Delhi also advanced one spot to 14th globally. A massive increase of 11
spots has been registered in Washington DC, which blazed its way into the top 20 at
19th. São Paulo, ranked 20th, has lost 2 spots, but is still a powerful representative for
Latin American ecosystems, followed only by Mexico City at 50th globally.
 On the brink of entering the top 20 is Shenzhen, increasing 12 spots to be ranked 21st,
and solidifying its position as the third most powerful Chinese ecosystem, well above
Hong Kong and Hangzhou. Three more notable success stories in the top 30 are San
Diego, increasing by 6 spots to 22nd, Stockholm, increasing 4 spots to 24th, and the
city of Singapore, debuting in the top 25 listed ecosystems. Two notable decreases in
the top 30 are Atlanta, decreasing 9 spots to 28th, and Amsterdam, decreasing by 9
spots as well, to be ranked 29th.
 Notable trends in the top 50 ecosystems are the increase of all Asian cities ranked
between 30-50, namely Hong Kong, Hangzhou, Jakarta and Taipei City. We should
also note the increase of 9 spots by Philadelphia, now ranked at 35th globally, and a
decrease of 5 spots for Sydney, Australia, now ranked 36th, slightly above Melbourne
at 39th. Two notable decreases took place in Spain’s strongest ecosystems, as both
Barcelona and Madrid lost 10 spots to be now ranked 37th and 45th respectively.
Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, has had a rough year, decreasing by 16 spots and dropping to
48th. We should also note the slide of 5 spots in Vancouver, now ranked 42nd, trailing
well behind Toronto at 26th and moving closer to Montreal at 46th. Last but not least,
congratulations to Mexico city, increasing by 3 spots, and edging into the top 50 global
ecosystems at 50th.

From 51 to 100
 The competition in cities ranked between 50-100 is fascinating, as some of those cities
will soon become global hubs. A few American cities have jumped by more than 10
spots, signalling their preparedness to take leadership in years to come. In some cases,
the jump is a result of clustering (done by our data team) which reveals the real value
of augmented ecosystems. Among these massive gainers are Salt Lake City, Charlotte,
Nashville, Columbus, Provo, Sacramento, Cincinnati, and Wilmington. The two American
cities losing more than 10 spots in the 50-100 ranking range are Pittsburgh and Santa
 Some outstanding achievements were registered by Guangzhou and Chengdu, both
jumping substantially to increase Chinese presence in the top 100 ecosystems. Dubai
has solidified its position this year as the queen of Arab ecosystems, after jumping 32
spots to 67th globally. Other top 100 cities registering a massive jump are Istanbul,
Bangkok, and Kuala Lumpur, showing that innovation is creating hubs in new locations
with massive market potential.
 Some notable decreases in cities ranked 50-100 are in Buenos Aires (down 24 spots to
62nd), Hamburg (down 17 spots to 64th), Santiago de Chile (down 10 spots to 70th),
and Ottawa (down 32 spots to 89th).

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 24

 The 50-100 ranking range remains a shifting battleground for national ecosystems
in some developed countries. In Switzerland, Basel managed to cling to its second
national spot, losing 21 spots and now ranking 93rd globally, while Lausanne advances
to third nationally by jumping 46 spots to 96th globally. Another interesting national
change this year took place in the UK, where both Manchester, now the second ranked
ecosystem nationally, and Cambridge, which shot up 99 spots globally, have both
surpassed Bristol, which dropped by 22 spots to 90th globally. The growth of UK
university cities does not end with Cambridge; Oxford leapt 86 spots to 92nd.

From 101 and beyond

From the collection of cities ranked below the top 100 there are numerous changes to
cover. For this reason we will focus on some of the most interesting trends we’ve identified.
 Ranked 105th, Auckland, New Zealand is on the verge of becoming a top 100
ecosystem after gaining 19 spots. A substantial jump of 134 spots has been tracked
in the Hague, the Netherlands, which has helped to offset Amsterdam’s decrease in
the rankings. Additionally, Kyoto has increased no less than 127 spots to rank 124th
globally and 2nd nationally in Japan. Another Japanese city that made an impressive
jump is Fukuoka, ranked 4th in Japan after a 54 spot jump in the rankings to 240th

 The Nigerian city of Lagos has become the top African startup ecosystem, ranked
122nd after switching places with Nairobi, Kenya, which now ranks 136th. Malmö,
Sweden increased by 106 spots to rank 137th, suggesting for the first time a potential
strong second Swedish startup ecosystem after the success of Stockholm.

 Busan, ranked 162nd, is making an impressive debut in the ranking, supplementing

the strong global hub of Seoul. Busan joins 3 other new Korean cities, which signals
that the Korean ecosystem is becoming more varied. Similarly, Taiwan celebrates an
achievement, debuting five new cities in the rankings to join its capital Taipei City.

 In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City has jumped 46 spots to rank 179th globally and above
Hanoi, which registered a 5 spot jump to 191st, signalling the variety and potential of
the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.

 Latin American startup ecosystems had a tough year, however there are a few notable
exceptions. One notable success was in Uruguay’s capital of Montevideo, which
jumped 110 spots to 165th globally. Other top 300 cities showing positive trends in
South America are Porto Alegre in Brazil, Cordoba in Argentina, and Cali in Colombia.

 In the UAE, Abu Dhabi has jumped a significant 146 spots to now rank 169th globally.
Additionally, Cairo has had a significant increase of 21 spots to rank 180th globally,
adding another Arab city to the top 200 ranked cities, in addition to Riyadh in Saudi
Arabia, which jumped 89 spots to rank 192nd globally.

 In China, 6 startup ecosystems have made their debut in the top 500 globally this
year, and 13 more Chinese ecosystems debuted in the second half of the ranking,
between positions 501 and 1000. Furthermore, we have seen a jump of more than
500 spots in various Chinese cities, including Nanjing, Changsha, Chongqing, TianJin,
Zhuhai, Quindao, and Chaoyang. This trend shows the potential of the Chinese startup
ecosystem to innovate well beyond a few major cities. We expect to see even more
Chinese cities in the top 100 soon.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 25

Global Startup Ecosystem Index:
Top Countries

Rank Change Quantity Quality Business Total

Rank Country
(from 2020) Score Score Score Score

1 United States − 19.45 101.17 3.80 124.420

2 United Kingdom − 8.16 16.86 3.70 28.719

3 Israel − 5.48 19.14 3.13 27.741

4 Canada − 6.58 9.75 3.55 19.876

5 Germany − 3.64 9.92 3.49 17.053

6 Sweden +4 2.40 9.24 3.78 15.423

7 China +7 1.33 11.46 2.34 15.128

8 Switzerland − 3.82 7.58 3.54 14.943

9 Australia −2 4.46 5.87 3.50 13.835

10 Singapore +6 3.22 7.69 2.84 13.745

2021 | StartupBlink Global

Startup Map Ecosystem
| Global Development
Startup 2021
Ecosystem Index
Global Rankings: Countries

Rank Change Quantity Quality Business Total

Rank Country
(from 2020) Score Score Score Score

11 The Netherlands −5 3.44 6.95 3.30 13.701

12 France − 3.03 6.85 3.41 13.286
13 Estonia −2 3.19 5.77 3.47 12.428
14 Finland −1 2.68 5.26 3.64 11.582
15 Spain −6 3.48 4.35 3.31 11.147
16 Lithuania −1 3.77 2.98 3.25 9.992
17 Russia − 2.17 5.14 2.51 9.812
18 Ireland − 2.51 3.68 3.44 9.633
19 South Korea − 0.68 4.96 3.24 8.888
20 India +3 1.83 4.40 2.61 8.833
21 Japan − 0.99 4.42 3.30 8.709
22 Denmark − 2.04 2.68 3.65 8.368
23 Belgium +1 2.07 1.98 3.31 7.359
24 Brazil −4 1.05 3.99 2.29 7.326
25 United Arab Emirates +18 1.73 2.42 2.80 6.951
26 Taiwan +4 1.50 2.09 3.36 6.946
27 Portugal +4 1.60 2.53 2.81 6.939
28 Austria − 1.75 1.67 3.52 6.936
29 Italy −4 1.68 1.87 3.06 6.602
30 Poland −3 1.40 1.95 3.17 6.515
31 Norway +2 1.15 1.57 3.66 6.386
32 Czechia −6 1.24 1.72 3.26 6.226
33 New Zealand +14 1.06 1.12 3.69 5.865
34 Ukraine −5 1.01 2.09 2.60 5.705
35 Bulgaria −3 1.88 0.58 2.75 5.209
36 Chile −2 1.11 1.24 2.63 4.976
37 Croatia +2 0.97 1.06 2.88 4.907
38 Mexico +3 0.63 1.63 2.55 4.800
39 Argentina −1 1.11 1.52 1.98 4.613
40 Malaysia +8 0.55 1.18 2.68 4.411

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 27

Global Rankings: Countries

Rank Change Quantity Quality Business Total

Rank Country
(from 2020) Score Score Score Score

41 Romania +4 0.81 0.93 2.52 4.260

42 Latvia −6 1.30 0.33 2.55 4.175
43 Luxembourg −3 1.21 0.38 2.30 3.886
44 Turkey +5 0.87 0.72 2.14 3.723
45 Indonesia +9 0.32 1.82 1.52 3.657
46 Slovenia −11 1.14 0.29 2.18 3.604
47 Colombia −1 0.63 1.03 1.89 3.547
48 South Africa +4 0.49 1.15 1.89 3.518
49 Hungary −12 1.06 0.34 2.04 3.445
50 Thailand − 0.41 1.01 1.67 3.081
51 Uruguay +15 0.29 1.13 1.58 3.000
52 Philippines +1 0.53 0.81 1.52 2.852
53 Serbia −11 0.85 0.29 1.54 2.680
54 Greece −10 0.74 0.33 1.46 2.538
55 Iceland +3 0.54 0.36 1.27 2.177
56 Slovakia −5 0.60 0.21 1.26 2.069
57 Cyprus −2 0.55 0.23 1.08 1.854
58 North Macedonia +2 0.20 0.58 1.07 1.849
59 Vietnam − 0.21 0.73 0.89 1.830
60 Malta +1 0.56 0.16 0.88 1.594
61 Kenya +1 0.26 0.43 0.88 1.565
62 Peru −6 0.21 0.50 0.82 1.540
63 Nigeria +5 0.30 0.59 0.63 1.517
64 Jordan +3 0.24 0.26 0.60 1.108
65 Armenia −8 0.35 0.13 0.60 1.078
66 Bahrain +9 0.27 0.15 0.52 0.946
67 Belarus −4 0.32 0.12 0.50 0.936
68 Liechtenstein +1 0.23 0.12 0.57 0.923
69 Rwanda −4 0.10 0.34 0.47 0.918
70 Egypt +11 0.27 0.26 0.36 0.893

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 28

Global Rankings: Countries

Rank Change Quantity Quality Business Total

Rank Country
(from 2020) Score Score Score Score

71 Saudi Arabia +17 0.23 0.18 0.46 0.864

72 Costa Rica new 0.09 0.18 0.32 0.586
73 Mauritius new 0.07 0.15 0.30 0.517
74 Lebanon − 0.24 0.06 0.20 0.499
75 Pakistan +7 0.17 0.14 0.18 0.490
76 Kazakhstan +10 0.14 0.08 0.26 0.468
77 Moldova −13 0.12 0.09 0.25 0.462
78 Albania −6 0.12 0.10 0.23 0.451
79 Jamaica −3 0.11 0.09 0.22 0.419
80 Georgia −1 0.09 0.08 0.23 0.409
81 Ghana +4 0.10 0.11 0.18 0.399
82 Tunisia −5 0.14 0.07 0.19 0.395
83 Panama +4 0.09 0.08 0.19 0.355
84 Qatar − 0.10 0.09 0.17 0.352
85 Bosnia and Herzegovina −12 0.10 0.08 0.17 0.351
86 Ecuador −15 0.12 0.06 0.15 0.330
87 Cape Verde +4 0.15 0.05 0.11 0.319
88 Mongolia +5 0.10 0.05 0.16 0.314
89 Azerbaijan −19 0.09 0.05 0.17 0.309
90 Kuwait +2 0.04 0.09 0.12 0.259
91 Paraguay −11 0.08 0.06 0.12 0.253
92 Sri Lanka +7 0.09 0.04 0.12 0.245
93 Bangladesh +5 0.08 0.08 0.09 0.241
94 Somalia +1 0.13 0.05 0.04 0.224
95 Morocco −12 0.06 0.05 0.12 0.220
96 Dominican Republic −18 0.06 0.04 0.09 0.197
97 Uganda −8 0.07 0.04 0.07 0.180
98 Nepal +2 0.06 0.04 0.08 0.173
99 Namibia new 0.04 0.05 0.07 0.165
100 Ethiopia new 0.08 0.06 0.03 0.162

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 29

Global Startup Ecosystem Index:
Top Cities

Rank Change
Rank City Country Total Score
(from 2020)

1 San Francisco Bay United States − 328.966

2 New York United States − 110.777

3 Beijing China +3 66.049

4 Los Angeles Area United States +1 58.441

5 London United Kingdom −2 56.913

6 Boston Area United States −2 49.835

7 Shanghai China +3 42.162

8 Tel Aviv Area Israel −1 27.084

9 Moscow Russia − 25.401

10 Bangalore India +4 25.367

11 Paris France +1 25.297

12 Seattle United States −1 24.329

13 Berlin Germany −5 23.872

14 New Delhi India +1 22.379

15 Tokyo Japan +1 21.792

16 Mumbai India +6 19.414

17 Chicago United States −4 19.121

18 Austin United States −1 18.598

19 Washington DC Area United States +11 18.064

20 São Paulo Brazil −2 17.642

21 Shenzhen China +12 17.403

22 San Diego United States +6 17.272

23 Seoul South Korea −2 16.680

24 Stockholm Sweden +5 15.748

25 Singapore City Singapore +1 15.713

2021 | StartupBlink
StartupBlink View the Global
| Global StartupStartup Map
Ecosystem Index 2021 p. 30
Global Rankings: Cities

Rank Change
Rank City Country Total Score
(from 2020)

26 Toronto Canada −2 15.678

27 Dallas-Fort Worth United States −4 15.535

28 Atlanta United States −9 15.106

29 Amsterdam The Netherlands −9 13.578

30 Denver United States +4 13.554

31 Miami Area United States −6 13.213

32 Hong Kong China +4 13.200

33 Hangzhou China +12 13.167

34 Jakarta Indonesia +7 13.158

35 Philadelphia United States +9 13.111

36 Sydney Australia −5 11.998

37 Barcelona Spain −10 11.918

38 Munich Germany − 11.769

39 Melbourne Australia +1 10.572

40 Raleigh Durham United States +3 10.474

41 Taipei City Taiwan +1 10.450

42 Vancouver Canada −5 10.350

43 Minneapolis United States +7 10.219

44 Helsinki Finland −5 10.006

45 Madrid Spain −10 9.553

46 Montreal Canada +3 9.248

47 Phoenix United States +5 8.469

48 Kyiv Ukraine −16 8.436

49 Detroit United States −1 8.402

50 Mexico City Mexico +3 8.385

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 31

Global Rankings: Cities

Rank Change
Rank City Country Total Score
(from 2020)

51 Dublin Ireland +3 8.309

52 Houston United States +7 8.251

53 Portland United States −2 7.974

54 Jerusalem Israel +1 7.776

55 Salt Lake City United States +16 7.719

56 Milan Italy +6 7.529

57 Zurich Switzerland +8 7.525

58 Charlotte United States +11 7.517

59 Boulder United States +4 7.174

60 Buenos Aires Argentina −14 7.152

61 Copenhagen Denmark +6 7.055

62 Las Vegas United States −6 7.023

63 Nashville United States +11 6.917

64 Hamburg Germany −17 6.898

65 Guangzhou China +35 6.893

66 Tallinn Estonia − 6.888

67 Dubai United Arab Emirates +32 6.883

68 Manchester United Kingdom +11 6.877

69 Istanbul Turkey +11 6.733

70 Santiago Chile −10 6.670

71 Bangkok Thailand +19 6.558

72 Brussels Belgium −8 6.502

73 Pittsburgh United States −15 6.452

74 Santa Barbara United States −13 6.432

75 Columbus United States +20 6.390

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 32

Global Rankings: Cities

Rank Change
Rank City Country Total Score
(from 2020)

76 Cambridge United Kingdom +99 6.373

77 Bogota Colombia − 6.364

78 Warsaw Poland −5 6.345

79 Provo United States +153 6.330

80 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia +14 6.298

81 Tampa Bay Area United States −5 6.275

82 Lisbon Portugal +3 6.113

83 Prague Czechia −2 6.093

84 Vilnius Lithuania −9 6.037

85 Vienna Austria −1 5.972

86 Chengdu China +63 5.963

87 Manila Area Philippines +1 5.948

88 Sacramento United States +33 5.923

89 Ottawa Canada −32 5.880

90 Bristol United Kingdom −22 5.703

91 Cincinnati United States +32 5.682

92 Oxford United Kingdom +86 5.638

93 Basel Switzerland −21 5.512

94 Madison United States +4 5.495

95 Wilmington United States +93 5.485

96 Lausanne Switzerland +46 5.453

97 Frankfurt Germany −14 5.438

98 Kansas City United States −9 5.402

99 Oslo Norway +6 5.397

100 Baltimore United States −8 5.337

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 33

Regional Analysis

This chapter explains the rankings from a regional perspective

and is divided into two sections: First, we discuss the distribution
of the global top 1000 ranked cities across all regions, reflecting
on regional momentum. Second, we examine each region
independently and in more depth.

Power Shifts and Regional Momentum

Investigating how cities are distributed throughout the global top 1000 helps us
understand how each region compares in both activity and momentum.

Asia & Pacific

North America

Middle East & Africa


Latin America & Caribbean

We start with the momentum of North America, a region which dominated 41.2% of the
cities last year, and has decreased to 29.7% of cities this year.
The main reason for this decrease is a bit technical. In 2021, dozens of startup ecosystems
were clustered together in the United States as part of the new ranking process. This
clustering should have resulted in a decreased number of ranked cities in North America,
but also an increase in the output of top tier cities, which receive an extra boost from
cities in their cluster. The total number of ranked cities in North America has decreased as
expected, yet the number of North America cities in the global top 100 stayed exactly the
same at 40. More precisely, two Canadian cities dropped from the global top 100, while
the US gained two cities.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 34

The conclusion is that the North American region as a whole has lost both strength and
momentum in comparison to other regions around the world this year. It should be noted
however, that although the North America region no longer produces the highest number
of ranked ecosystems globally, it is still leading in both the number of cities ranked
between 1-30, where it holds 13 cities (43%), and cities ranked 31-100, where it holds 27
cities, or 39%, dominating the top tier. By comparison, Europe has 6 cities in the top 30,
and 26 cities ranked 31-100. Similarly, North America clearly dominantes all ranked startup
industries, presented later in the report. The city of San Francisco is the undisputed leader
in all ranked industries, with the exception of one industry where New York ranks higher,
demonstrating that North American - and particularly the US - cities are dominant hubs of
global innovation.
 The European region has the most cities in the global top 1000, with 386 cities now (or
38.6%), compared to 339 cities (or 33,9%) in 2020. This reveals the massive diversity
of technological hubs in Europe. And yet, Europe's momentum is not entirely positive.
While Europe's presence in the top 1000 improved, only 11 of 44 ranked European
countries improved their rankings this year, and 25 of them dropped.

 It is inherent to any ranking system that when one area decreases, another must
increase. The Asia-Pacific region shows the opposite trend of Europe: only one of the
19 ranked countries in this region decreased in ranking (Australia), and two countries
entered the elite global top 10: China and Singapore. Interestingly, this appears to
be a power shift between Europe and the Asia Pacific, because China and Singapore
replaced two European countries in the global top 10: The Netherlands and Spain.
The Asia Pacific's positive growth momentum is also well established by the number
of regional cities in the global top 1000, which increased from 118 last year to 161 this
year. This growth, however, does not yet translate into top tier presence among the
global top 100 cities, where the Asia Pacific representation declined from 21 last year to
20 this year.

 Similarly, in the top 30, much has remained the same as 2020, with Europe losing
one city (Barcelona, Spain) to be replaced by a new Asia Pacific entry to the top 30
(Shenzhen, China). Having only one new Asian city entering the top 30 club is by itself
an interesting observation, given the entry of China and Singapore into the global top
10 this year. While Singapore depends solely on its capital ecosystem, Singapore City,
China's rise to the top can be attributed to steep growth in many Chinese ecosystems
in 2021; yet only one additional Chinese city entered the global top 30.

 The Latin American and Caribbean region did not experience the same momentum
as Asia Pacific. The number of Latin America countries represented in the global top
100 this year decreased from 15 to 13, and the number of cities in the global top 100
decreased from 6 to 5. Still, this region did see an overall increase in presence, from 76
ranked cities in the global top 1000 to 82 this year.

 Finally, the Middle East & Africa region saw solid gains in the rankings this year,
establishing very positive momentum. The region is represented by 22 ranked
countries, compared to 20 last year, and showed a fantastic increase in the number of
ranked cities, from 55 last year to 74 this year. Although the number of cities ranked in
the global top 100 remained stable this year, the region's representation among cities
ranked 101-200 increased from 6 last year to 8 this year, showing that ecosystems in
this region are continuing to develop.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 35

In the following table, we present the number of cities ranked by region and their
distribution within the global top 1000, in both 2021 and 2020.

Number of cities per Tier: 2021 Number of cities per Tier: 2020

% of Top- #1— #31— #101— #301— % of Top- #1— #31— #101— #301—
Region Total
1000 30 100 300 1000
1000 30 100 300 1000

North America 297 29.70% 13 27 53 204 412 41.20% 13 27 73 299

Asia Pacific 161 16.10% 9 11 38 103 118 11.80% 8 13 24 73

Europe 386 38.60% 6 26 83 271 339 33.90% 7 23 81 228

Latin America
82 8.20% 1 4 12 65 76 7.60% 1 5 10 60
& Caribbean
Middle East &
74 7.40% 1 2 14 57 55 5.50% 1 2 12 40

Total 1000 100.00% 30 70 200 700 1000 100.00% 30 70 200 700

Explore startup ecosystems by geographical and business region, using the StartupBlink
Pro Map.

North America
The North America region may be the smallest in number of countries, but it is the heart of
the global startup scene. North America has a total of 297 startup ecosystems in the global
top 1000, with 267 from the United States and 30 from Canada. Mexico was included in the
Latin America & Caribbean region.
In 2021, the US maintained its unrivalled position as highest ranking country globally, with
4 cities in the global top 10. Canada is now ranked 4th globally after a decrease from 3rd
last year, and has seen a significant decrease in its overall score, widening its gap from the
Big 3 countries (The US, UK and Israel).

Number of Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank Country
Ranked Cities Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 United States 267 1 — 124.420

2 Canada 30 4 — 19.876

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 36

North America
At the city level, one of the most notable changes in this region includes Washington DC’s
jump of 11 spots to 8th in North America and 19th in the world.

We have also seen significant increases from US cities like Philadelphia (Increasing 9
positions to 35th), Minneapolis (Increasing 7 positions to 43rd), and Phoenix (Increasing 5
positions to 47th) as they secure positions in the global top 50.

While many Canadian cities have seen a decrease in global rankings, Toronto, Vancouver,
and Montreal remain in the global top 50. North American dominance extends to all
the ranked industries, where US cities are not only highest ranked (San Francisco in 11
industries and New York in 1 industry), but the gap between US and non-US cities is
massive across almost all industries.

Top 20 ranked cities

Global Rank Change Total Score
Rank City Country
Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 San Francisco Bay United States 1 − 328.966

2 New York United States 2 − 110.777
3 Los Angeles Area United States 4 +1 58.441
4 Boston Area United States 6 −2 49.835
5 Seattle United States 12 −1 24.329
6 Chicago United States 17 −4 19.121
7 Austin United States 18 −1 18.598
8 Washington DC Area United States 19 +11 18.064
9 San Diego United States 22 +6 17.272
10 Toronto Canada 26 −2 15.678
11 Dallas-Fort Worth United States 27 −4 15.535
12 Atlanta United States 28 −9 15.106
13 Denver United States 30 +4 13.554
14 Miami Area United States 31 −6 13.213
15 Philadelphia United States 35 +9 13.111
16 Raleigh Durham United States 40 +3 10.474
17 Vancouver Canada 42 −5 10.350
18 Minneapolis United States 43 +7 10.219
19 Montreal Canada 46 +3 9.248
20 Phoenix United States 47 +5 8.469

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 37

Asia Pacific
The Asia-Pacific region has a total of 161 startup ecosystems in the global top 1000. The
region is home to an incredibly diverse range of countries, with some home to more than
one billion citizens (China and India), and some with high average incomes compared to
most countries in the world (Such as Australia and Singapore).
This diversity is apparent in the top 10 country rankings, where both China (7th) and
Singapore (10th) feature for the first time. Australia, while falling by 2 spots, still retains its
position in the global top 10 at 9th. Singapore and China joining the global top 10 is major
news in 2021, as it's the first time Asia is represented in this elite club. .

Top countries

Number of Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank Country
Ranked Cities Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 China 40 7 +7 15.128
2 Australia 12 9 −2 13.835
3 Singapore 1 10 +6 13.745
4 South Korea 5 19 − 8.888
5 India 43 20 +3 8.833
6 Japan 8 21 − 8.709
7 Taiwan 6 26 +4 6.946
8 New Zealand 4 33 +14 5.865
9 Malaysia 5 40 +8 4.411
10 Indonesia 7 45 +9 3.657

China’s huge jump to 7th is understandable: of the 40 cities representing China in

the global top 1000, only one of these cities (Xiamen) decreased in ranking this year.
Meanwhile, its two highest ranking cities last year, Beijing and Shanghai have both moved
further up the global top 10 list, now ranking 3rd and 7th respectively. 19 of 40 ranked
Chinese cities are new entrants this year, demonstrating the growing diversity of the
Chinese startup ecosystem.
The region has also seen positive momentum from India moving up 3 spots and into the
global top 20, supported by 43 cities in the global top 1000. The strongest of these cities
is Bangalore, which increased 4 spots and into the global top 10. Taiwan also continues its
upward momentum, gaining 4 spots to rank 26th globally after featuring for the first time in
We also commend New Zealand for a brilliant achievement of jumping no less than 14
spots in the rankings this year to land at 33rd globally. New Zealand is well positioned to
become the region's next country in the global top 30.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 38

The positive momentum in the Asia-Pacific region spans across all sub-regions: China (East
Asia) and Singapore (Southeast Asia) both enter the global top 10, India (South Asia) re-
enters the global top 20, New Zealand (Australia and Oceania) jumps 14 positions to 33rd
in the world, and Kazakhstan (Central Asia) jumps 10 spots to 76th.

Top 20 ranked cities

Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank City Country
Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 Beijing China 3 +3 66.049

2 Shanghai China 7 +3 42.162
3 Bangalore India 10 +4 25.367
4 New Delhi India 14 +1 22.379
5 Tokyo Japan 15 +1 21.792
6 Mumbai India 16 +6 19.414
7 Shenzhen China 21 +12 17.403
8 Seoul South Korea 23 −2 16.680
9 Singapore City Singapore 25 +1 15.713
10 Hong Kong China 32 +4 13.200
11 Hangzhou China 33 +12 13.167
12 Jakarta Indonesia 34 +7 13.158
13 Sydney Australia 36 −5 11.998
14 Melbourne Australia 39 +1 10.572
15 Taipei City Taiwan 41 +1 10.450
16 Guangzhou China 65 +35 6.893
17 Bangkok Thailand 71 +19 6.558
18 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 80 +14 6.298
19 Chengdu China 86 +63 5.963
20 Manila Area Philippines 87 +1 5.948

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 39

The European region has a total of 386 Startup Ecosystems in the global top 1000 this year.
These cities are spread across 44 countries, almost half of the countries featured in the
Startup Ecosystem Index, of which 4 are in the global top 10, 12 are in the top 20, 18 are in
the top 30, and 29 are in the top 50, showing the immense strength of European countries
on the global scale.
Regardless, only one European country in the global top 20, Sweden saw an increase in
global rank this year. Sweden has increased by 4 positions to become the 2nd strongest
national startup ecosystem in the EU behind Germany, after the UK’s departure from the EU
in early 2020, and after this year's decline of The Netherlands which ranked 6th last year.
Overall, 11 of 44 ranked European countries saw increases of between 1 and 5 positions in
2021, 8 of the 44 retained the same ranking, and the majority of European countries, 25 of
the 44, experienced a decrease in ranking, ranging from a slight drop of 1 position to a
decrease of 19 positions (Azerbaijan). All in all, 2021 doesn't suggest good momentum for
European startup ecosystems, especially for Eastern European countries: 18 of the 25
European countries that lost rank this year belong to the Eastern European sub-region.

Top countries

Number of Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank Country
Ranked Cities Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 United Kingdom 58 2 − 28.719

2 Germany 42 5 − 17.053
3 Sweden 10 6 +4 15.423
4 Switzerland 14 8 − 14.943
5 The Netherlands 22 11 −5 13.701
6 France 24 12 − 13.286
7 Estonia 2 13 −2 12.428
8 Finland 6 14 −1 11.582
9 Spain 28 15 −6 11.147
10 Lithuania 3 16 −1 9.992

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 40

This overall European decline is somewhat nuanced in city rankings, where a number of
European ecosystems booked great results in 2021. Stockholm jumped 5 positions to rank
24th globally, Zurich jumped 8 positions to 57th, Manchester and Istanbul both improved
by 11 positions, ranking 68th and 69th respectively, Lausanne climbed 46 positions to
96th, and The Hague had a meteoric rise of 134 positions to 123rd. Several UK cities
made impressive advances too: Cambridge ranks 76th after climbing 99 positions, Oxford
jumped 86 positions to 92nd, and Birmingham now ranks 114th after a 98 position climb.
All these advances show that even in a tough year, there is still huge potential for Europe to
further expand as the world's second largest startup ecosystem hub.
Following Berlin’s 5 spot drop to 13th, London (5th) and Moscow (9th) are highest ranked
city-level ecosystems representing Europe in the top 10 globally. Paris is the only European
city in the global top 20 with positive momentum, increasing 1 spot to become the top
ecosystem in the post-Brexit EU at 11th worldwide. Of the 6 city ecosystems representing
the Baltic region in Europe, Tallinn, Estonia ranks 1st, followed by the Lithuanian capital of

Top 20 ranked cities

Global Rank Change Total Score
Rank City Country
Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 London United Kingdom 5 −2 56.913

2 Moscow Russia 9 − 25.401
3 Paris France 11 +1 25.297
4 Berlin Germany 13 −5 23.872
5 Stockholm Sweden 24 +5 15.748
6 Amsterdam The Netherlands 29 −9 13.578
7 Barcelona Spain 37 −10 11.918
8 Munich Germany 38 − 11.769
9 Helsinki Finland 44 −5 10.006
10 Madrid Spain 45 −10 9.553
11 Kyiv Ukraine 48 −16 8.436
12 Dublin Ireland 51 +3 8.309
13 Milan Italy 56 +6 7.529
14 Zurich Switzerland 57 +8 7.525
15 Copenhagen Denmark 61 +6 7.055
16 Hamburg Germany 64 −17 6.898
17 Tallinn Estonia 66 − 6.888
18 Manchester United Kingdom 68 +11 6.877
19 Istanbul Turkey 69 +11 6.733
20 Brussels Belgium 72 −8 6.502

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 41

Latin America & Caribbean
The Latin America & Caribbean region has a total of 82 startup ecosystems represented in
the global top 1000 cities, with 13 countries ranking in the global top 100.
This year there are no Latin American or Caribbean countries in the global top 20 after the
top player in the region, Brazil, dropped by 4 positions to 24th. Brazil was followed by
Chile, which decreased 2 spots to 36th globally. Despite this, we have seen positive
momentum in 4 of the 13 Latin American countries featured in the global top 100. Mexico
jumped 3 spots to gain a global top 40 position at 38th, Uruguay (South America)
increased significantly by 15 positions to 51st, and Panama (Central America) increased by
4 positions to 83rd. Meanwhile, Costa Rica (Central America) features for the first time in
the StartupBlink rankings at 72nd, with its capital city, San José, ranking at 333rd in the
global city rankings and 1st among Central American cities.

Top countries

Number of Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank Country
Ranked Cities Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 Brazil 32 24 −4 7.326
2 Chile 4 36 −2 4.976
3 Mexico 17 38 +3 4.800
4 Argentina 5 39 −1 4.613
5 Colombia 4 47 −1 3.547
6 Uruguay 1 51 +15 3.000
7 Peru 1 62 −6 1.540
8 Costa Rica 1 72 new 0.586
9 Jamaica 2 79 −3 0.419
10 Panama 1 83 +4 0.355

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 42

Latin America & Caribbean
At the city level, São Paulo, which increased 5 spots to 18th globally last year, has barely
retained its global top 20 position after decreasing 2 spots this year. The only other Latin
American city in the global top 50, Mexico City, mirrors Mexican success at a national level
by increasing by 3 spots to 50th. Other major success stories in the region include Curitiba,
Brazil which increased 39 spots to 144th globally and 2nd in the Brazilian ecosystem,
Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital city, which jumped a significant 110 spots to 165th and
leads the growth of the country, and the Costa Rican capital, San José, which jumped 154
positions to 333rd.
Sub-regions within Latin America showed very different results in 2021. In Mexico and
Central America, two ranked countries booked positive results and a third joined the
rankings. On the other hand, all South American countries except Uruguay declined in the
rankings. Similarly, both ranked countries in the Caribbean region, Jamaica and the
Dominican Republic, declined in rank this year, although they maintained positions in the
global top 100.

Top 20 ranked cities

Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank City Country
Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 São Paulo Brazil 20 −2 17.642

2 Mexico City Mexico 50 +3 8.385
3 Buenos Aires Argentina 60 −14 7.152
4 Santiago Chile 70 −10 6.670
5 Bogota Colombia 77 − 6.364
6 Lima Peru 138 −27 4.254
7 Curitiba Brazil 144 +39 4.053
8 Rio de Janeiro Brazil 148 −55 4.003
9 Monterrey Mexico 149 −40 3.997
10 Belo Horizonte Brazil 154 −53 3.763
11 Guadalajara Mexico 156 −42 3.682
12 Montevideo Uruguay 165 +110 3.275
13 Medellin Colombia 183 −52 2.627
14 Porto Alegre Brazil 188 +12 2.538
15 Florianopolis Brazil 270 −43 1.164
16 Cordoba Argentina 297 +22 0.989
17 Cali Colombia 298 +32 0.985
18 San José Costa Rica 333 +154 0.738
19 Brasilia Brazil 339 −3 0.725
20 San Juan Puerto Rico 347 +25 0.695

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 43

Middle East and Africa
The Middle East & Africa region has a total of 74 startup ecosystems represented in the
global top 1000 cities ranking, spread across 22 nations in the global top 100.
Israel remains the main player in the region by a significant margin, with Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem taking 8th and 54th globally and 1st and 2nd regionally, respectively. In fact,
three of the top 4 ranked cities in the region are in Israel, with Haifa taking 3rd. Elsewhere,
the region has seen significant positive momentum, with the United Arab Emirates
increasing 18 places to 25th globally and 2nd in the region, and South Africa moving up 4
spots to 48th, becoming the first African country in the global top 50. There is a general
feeling of positive momentum in the region, with countries such as Kenya (61), Nigeria (63),
Jordan (64), and Bahrain (66) moving further up in the rankings, while we see the national
ecosystems of Namibia (99), Ethiopia (100), and Mauritius (73) feature in the rankings for
the first time.

Top countries

Number of Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank Country
Ranked Cities Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 Israel 11 3 − 27.741
2 United Arab Emirates 3 25 +18 6.951
3 South Africa 4 48 +4 3.518
4 Kenya 2 61 +1 1.565
5 Nigeria 7 63 +5 1.517
6 Jordan 1 64 +3 1.108
7 Bahrain 1 66 +9 0.946
8 Rwanda 1 69 −4 0.918
9 Egypt 2 70 +11 0.893
10 Saudi Arabia 4 71 +17 0.864

At the city level, this year has seen UAE’s significant growth led by both Dubai, ranking
67th globally and 3rd in the region, and Abu Dhabi, increasing 146 places to 169th. Lagos,
Nigeria has also seen a positive momentum, increasing 5 spots to 122 globally and taking
5th position in the region, preceded by the Israeli city of Haifa, which increased 24 spots
to take 4th in the region. By climbing to the 5th position in this region, Lagos became
the highest ranking African city, at the expense of Nairobi, which is now ranked 136th
worldwide, 6th in the Middle East and Africa region, and second in Africa.
Within the Middle East & Africa region, there are some differences among the sub-regions.
2021 has been a very positive year for the Middle East, in which all but one country kept
or improved rank, and some countries saw impressive jumps. African countries have had
more mixed results.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 44

Middle East and Africa
Within Africa there are also differences among sub-regions. Central Africa still has no
representation in the rankings, while Eastern Africa grew from 4 to 6 countries in the global
top 100. Northern Africa kept its three representatives in the global top 100, yet two of the
three nations (Tunisia and Morocco) declined in rank. Southern Africa had a good year;
not only did South Africa join the global top 50 this year, but a second Southern African
country (Namibia) joined the rankings. Finally, Western Africa had a good year, where all
ranked countries (Nigeria, Ghana, and Cape Verde) improved their rankings.
To sum up, results are quite diverse across the sub-regions of the African continent.

Top 20 ranked cities

Global Rank Change Total Score

Rank City Country
Rank (from 2020) 2021

1 Tel Aviv Area Israel 8 −1 27.084

2 Jerusalem Israel 54 +1 7.776
3 Dubai United Arab Emirates 67 +32 6.883
4 Haifa Israel 119 +24 4.777
5 Lagos Nigeria 122 +5 4.693
6 Nairobi Kenya 136 −20 4.277
7 Cape Town South Africa 145 +1 4.047
8 Johannesburg South Africa 152 +8 3.864
9 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 169 +146 3.188
10 Cairo Egypt 180 +21 2.732
11 Riyadh Saudi Arabia 192 +89 2.415
12 Amman Jordan 201 +2 2.088
13 Beer Sheva Israel 238 −39 1.490
14 Kigali Rwanda 265 −39 1.210
15 Accra Ghana 281 +70 1.109
16 Yokneam Israel 284 +12 1.089
17 Jeddah Saudi Arabia 294 +143 1.004
18 Manama Bahrain 337 +103 0.732
19 Tunis Tunisia 341 −58 0.722
20 Beirut Lebanon 352 −8 0.689

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 45

Global Startup
Ecosystem Index

Top 100 Countries Overview

2021 | Startup
Ecosystem View the Global Startup Map
Rankings 2021 p. 46
1 | USA

In 1st place, the USA still dominates the global startup ecosystem.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking The United States has maintained a substantial innovation
gap between itself and the rest of the world, with 267 US
cities ranked in the top 1,000.
That said, the gap in the total score has slightly decreased
between the US and lower ranked countries. The US also
2019 2020 2021 ranks 1st globally across all ranked industries.
US dominance is clearly visible in the world’s top 30 cities:
12 of the top 30 are located in the US.
San Francisco remains the undisputed global leader of innovation, and is almost 3 times
more innovative than New York, the second highest ranked city both in the US and
worldwide. While impressive, this dominance has waned over the years; San Francisco
scored 4 times better than New York in 2020 and 5 times better in 2019.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 San Francisco Bay 1 − 328.966

2 New York 2 − 110.777 Foodtech 1

E-commerce &
3 Los Angeles Area 4 +1 58.441 Retail

4 Boston Area 6 −2 49.835 Health 2

Energy &
5 Seattle 12 −1 24.329 Environment

Marketing &
6 Chicago 17 −4 19.121 Sales

7 Austin 18 −1 18.598 Social & Leisure 12

Energy &
8 Washington DC Area 19 +11 18.064 Environment

9 San Diego 22 +6 17.272 Health 5

10 Dallas-Fort Worth 27 −4 15.535 Hardware & IoT

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 47

San Francisco ranks first for all ranked industries, with the exception of Foodtech, where
New York takes the lead. In most other industries, the gap between San Fancisco and the
second ranked city isn’t just big, it’s immense.
Since last year, Los Angeles has overtaken Boston to rank as the 3rd most innovative
city nationally. Together, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles dominate the top 3
positions worldwide in several industries: E-commerce & Retail Technology, Marketing
& Sales Technology, and Social & Leisure. US dominance is even greater in the Health
Technology industry, where five US cities occupy the top 5 positions in the global ranking:
San Francisco, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
Within the top 10 cities in the US, Seattle, Chicago, and Austin have all maintained their
national rankings but registered a slight decrease in their global rank. Additionally, Atlanta
and Miami have fallen out of the top 10 US cities, displaced by Washington DC and San Diego.
Other notable cities in the US top 20 and global top 50 include Denver, which increased
4 spots to rank 30th globally, Philadelphia, which increased 9 spots to rank 35th, Raleigh
Durham, which increased 3 spots to rank 40th, Minneapolis increased 7 spots to rank 43rd,
and Phoenix, which jumped 5 spots to rank 47th. For more information on the Phoenix
ecosystem see the StartupBlink Phoenix Startup Ecosystem Analysis.
The US has 28 new globally ranked cities this year, with the highest debut for
Charlottesville at 358th. It should be noted that due to new clustering criteria, the total
number of ranked US cities has substantially decreased from 383 last year to 267, but this
is due to the unification (clustering) of adjacent ecosystems and not an actual decrease.
The clustering of small adjacent cities into larger cities should have resulted in an increase
in the number of the top tier cities which received extra boost from the smaller cities
clustered into them. Indeed, two new US cities entered the top 100.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

There is an ongoing battle over global economic dominance between the United States
and China, but when it comes to startup ecosystems US superiority remains unthreatened.
Regarding startup ecosystems, the US is still the land of opportunity, representing the
world’s most vibrant source of free and disruptive technological creativity. The US version
of the internet is global and open, in contrast to more closed systems forming in other
parts of the world. US startup ecosystems are leveraged by global cultural influence across
all sectors, and by the fact that English is a globally dominant language, allowing US
startups immediate access to global markets.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 48

The US version of free market capitalism provides
startups with opportunities, funding, and support Notable Startups and
from both private and public sector entities. Ecosystem Champions
This competitive approach to startup
development has resulted in the creation of  Discord Unicorn

some of the most successful startups in the San Francisco, USA

world. Discord is a voice and chat
communication technology built for
The United States might have lost global gamers.
popularity over recent years, but in terms of a
developed ecosystem populated by startups  Calm Unicorn
and investors who have an eye for profit and San Francisco, USA
high risk tolerance, it is second to none. The Calm is building technology that
country’s flexible bankruptcy laws are one reduces the negative impacts of
example of why it is better to fail and start over stress in a world where 75-90% of
in the US compared to the losses accrued by all doctor visits are due to related
those same failures in many European countries.
While San Francisco is clearly dominating the  Clubhouse Unicorn
Global Startup Ecosystem Index, with a score
Sacramento, USA
that most other ecosystems will probably never
Clubhouse is a drop-in audio chat
get close to, it is clear that the gap Silicon Valley platform.
has created is not based on technology, but on

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 49

2 | UK

The UK is the world’s 2nd highest ranked startup ecosystem.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking The United Kingdom is the 2nd most innovative startup
ecosystem in the world, and has consolidated this position
since 2017.
The gap between the UK and United States is still
substantial, but the gap between the UK and the 3rd
2019 2020 2021 ranked country, Israel, has closed dramatically. This is
primarily attributed to the relative Quality score of each
startup ecosystem. In 2020, the UK still ranked second
worldwide for Quality, but in 2021 Israel took the 2nd position, narrowing the gap between
The UK ranks 2nd globally in 5 industries, including E-commerce & Retail Technology,

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 London 5 −2 56.913 Foodtech 3

Marketing &
2 Manchester 68 +11 6.877 Sales

3 Cambridge 76 +99 6.373 Health 21

E-commerce &
4 Bristol 90 −22 5.703 Retail

5 Oxford 92 +86 5.638 Health 25

E-commerce &
6 Edinburgh 102 +31 5.270 Retail

E-commerce &
7 Birmingham 114 +98 4.882 Retail

8 Glasgow 187 −36 2.540

9 Brighton 190 −60 2.452

10 Belfast 200 −26 2.112

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 50

Foodtech, and Marketing & Sales Technology.
London is the top ranked city in the UK and 5th globally, suffering a notable decrease
in rank from 3rd in 2020, although still the only non-US or Chinese city in the global top
7. London’s decline may be a sign that Brexit has had a negative influence on the UK. It
should come as no surprise that London ranks very high for Fintech, but it also ranks in the
global top 5 cities for other industries: E-commerce & Retail, Foodtech, Marketing & Sales
Technology, and Social & Leisure Technology. London is the main innovation hub in the
country, and the UK is still struggling to push another city into the top 50.
Manchester has increased by 11 spots since last year, now ranked 68th globally, becoming
the 2nd highest ranked city in the UK. Manchester is followed by Cambridge and Bristol;
Cambridge has had one of the most significant increases in the UK, moving up 99
positions to 76th globally and 3rd in the UK. To the contrary, Bristol dropped 22 spots to
90th globally and 4th in the UK. Oxford, Edinburgh, and Birmingham have all dramatically
increased in rank, while Glasgow, Brighton, and Belfast have decreased in rank. The UK
has a total of 5 ranked cities in the global top 100, with Oxford at 92nd taking 5th position
The UK is also ranked second globally in total number of cities ranked, which now stands at
58 with an impressive 18 new entrants. The highest ranked debut from the UK is Reading,
at 208th globally.
UK policy makers should focus on two major tasks which might seem contrasted but can
work in synergy: First, to restore positive momentum in the London startup ecosystem and
prevent further backsliding. Second, to make sure that at least one additional UK city will
take its place in the global top 50, finally creating a second strong international ecosystem
in the UK.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

In the post Brexit world, the United Kingdom, almost entirely represented by its dominant
ecosystem, London, faces the challenge of preserving its status as a leading global
hub. Contenders are unlikely to arrive from the EU, since the union faces its own set of
challenges, but mainly from Asia and, to some extent, the United States. Although Brexit
probably did more damage than good to the local startup ecosystem, there are numerous
examples of regionally disconnected countries establishing strong startup ecosystem

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 51

environments outside of unions of countries.
A dominant global Fintech hub, London is still Notable Startups and
ranked in the global top 5 and is one of the Ecosystem Champions
most powerful startup ecosystems in the world.
The city provides connections, support, and  Revolut Unicorn
funding through both private and public sector London, UK
organizations, and excels in producing high Building a 21st century banking
quality startups, including some impressive alternative designed for your global
unicorns. Whether leaving the EU will have a lifestyle.
major negative impact on London and the UK
in the future remains to be seen. What is certain  Babylon Health Unicorn

is that London’s startup ecosystem provides London, UK

entrepreneurs with an innovation hub that Babylon Health is a medtech
company which offers a remote
excels in almost every industry, making the city
medical consultation platform over
an extremely attractive location for ambitious messaging or video call.
 Hopin Unicorn

London, UK
Hopin is a live virtual event platform
that enables attendees to connect,
learn, and interact with people

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 52

3 | Israel

Israel is closing gaps in innovation to challenge the UK for 2nd


Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Israel maintains its position at 3rd globally. Moreover, the
gap between Israel and the United Kingdom in 2nd place
has narrowed significantly, indicating that Israel could
move into the 2nd spot in the near future. Israel’s success
is especially interesting given that the country’s ranking
for the Business score, indicating mainly infrastructure and
2019 2020 2021
regulation, decreased from 16th in 2020 to 25th this year.
The country’s success is attributed to very strong
performances on Quality and Quantity scores.
Most notably, in 2021, Israel has overtaken the UK in the Quality score, now ranking 2nd
after the United States.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Marketing &
1 Tel Aviv Area 8 −1 27.084 Sales

2 Jerusalem 54 +1 7.776 Software & Data 31

3 Haifa 119 +24 4.777 Health 30

4 Beer Sheva 238 −39 1.490

5 Yokneam 284 +12 1.089 Health 76

6 Ashdod 459 +58 0.424

7 Eilat 474 +20 0.405

8 Nazareth 508 new 0.358

9 Caesarea 521 new 0.346

10 Modiin-Maccabim-Reut 627 new 0.250

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 53

Israel also ranks 2nd globally in Hardware & IoT, Health Technology, and the Software &
Data industries, and it ranks in the world’s top 5 in Energy & Environment Technology,
Marketing & Sales Technology, and Social & Leisure Technology.
Ranked 8th globally and 1st in Israel, the city of Tel Aviv has decreased one spot
since last year, now ranking below Shanghai.
Jerusalem, with a global rank of 54, has increased by a single spot and is the 2nd highest
ranked city in Israel, as well as the only other Israeli city in the top 100. Haifa has continued
its upward trend, increasing 24 spots to 119th while Beer Sheva has decreased 39 spots
since last year to rank 238th worldwide.
There are several lessons to be learned from the 3 cities following Beer Sheva.
Yokneam, ranked 5th nationally, and increasing 12 spots to 284th globally, is a particularly
inspiring case study of a small town relatively far from other cities in Israel that has received
tax benefits and used them in a cost-efficient way to create a strong hub that produced a
unicorn in its vibrant tech park.
Ashdod, ranked 6th nationally, jumped 58 spots to 459th globally, and shows that building
a strong seed ecosystem while being situated relatively close to a hub like Tel Aviv is
possible, especially considering its advantage in cost of living.
Eilat, ranked 7th nationally, grew by 20 spots to 474th globally. Eilat is an inspiring example
of an ecosystem which is primarily focused on agro-tourism, and has managed to create an
interesting hub deep in the desert by the red sea, far from other Israeli cities.
More good news for Israel this year as four new cities join the rankings, for a total of 11
Israeli cities in the top 1000. The new entrants are Nazareth at 508th, Caesarea at 521st,
Modiin-Maccabim-Reut at 627th, and Nahariyya at 914th.
Israel must ensure Tel Aviv remains a global hub in the face of growing competition from
Asia, Europe, and the US. If it can do this, and at the same time grow Jerusalem and
strengthen the rankings of other cities, Israel will maintain outstanding rankings going
forward. Another clear win for the Israeli ecosystem are the regulatory reforms that will
allow its Business score (where it is now ranked 25th) to increase.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 54

Startup Ecosystem Overview
Israel is known as the startup nation for a good reason. It is a small country which makes a
substantial impact on the global startup ecosystem.
Israel is a shining example to other countries for several key reasons:
1. It has become a global hub in spite of a complicated geopolitical situation.

2. It showcases the impact a high-quality ecosystem has on the economy. The Israeli
startup ecosystem is a cash cow, generating tax revenue for the country both from exits
and high salaries.

3. All this was done while Israel trails behind on policy, regulation, and infrastructure.
Fintech is broken in Israel wherever Stripe, Revolut, and Wise are not operating.
Nevertheless, Fintech companies such as Payoneer, EToro, and Lemonade thrive by
focusing on international markets. UBER doesn’t operate in Israel, and the public
transport system is notoriously inefficient, yet automotive startups such as Moovit and
Mobileye secured exits at astonishing valuations.

Every massively successful ecosystem has institutions which took a leading role in its
creation. In many cases, it is either a university (e.g. Stanford), an accelerator (e.g. Y
Combinator), or a massive corporation. In Israel, it is the army, which became one of the
world’s top startup accelerators by accident. It should be noted, however, that the Israeli
public sector has done a commendable job of letting startups run loose early, without
limitations and restrictions, in contrast to many other countries whose ecosystems are
riddled with bureaucracy and regulation. Further, the Israel Innovation Authority has
offered interesting programs over the years to support local entrepreneurs.
Israeli apps like Waze, Wix, Fiverr, and Viber have made their mark around the world, but
a few, like Mobileye (sold to Intel for $15 Billion), are the hidden powerhouses within the
There is a wide variety of industries where Israel excels, including autonomous driving
(Mobileye, Waze), advertising (Taboola), and services (Fiverr). One maturing industry that
shows substantial potential is cybersecurity, leveraging the unique challenges the Israeli
army faces.
Many countries try to copy the Israeli model of innovation, but this ecosystem is hard
to replicate. It relies on entrepreneurs who are risk takers by nature, and a geopolitical
situation which incentivizes innovation as a critical need for survival.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 55

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Yokneam,
Ashdod, Eilat and Jerusalem’s startup ecosystem.

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions

 Appsflyer Unicorn

Tel-Aviv Yafo, Israel

The world’s leading mobile attribution & marketing analytics platform

 Monday.com Unicorn

Tel-Aviv Yafo, Israel

Visual Work OS that powers teams to run projects and workflows with confidence.

 Gett Unicorn

Tel-Aviv Yafo, Israel

Technology platform solely focused on corporate Ground Transportation Management (GTM).

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 56

4 | Canada

Maintaining 4th place, Canada has developed into a country with

multiple strong startup ecosystem hubs.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Canada has maintained its 4th place globally, however
the gap between Canada and the top three countries has
significantly increased.
Although Canada has a higher Quantity score than Israel,
ranked 3rd, Canada’s main obstacle to breaking into the
2019 2020 2021 the top 3 is the gap in Quality score, where Canada only
ranks 6th worldwide.
Canada ranks 3rd globally in two industries: Education Technology and Energy &
Environment Technology.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Energy &
1 Toronto 26 −2 15.678 Environment

Energy &
2 Vancouver 42 −5 10.350 Environment

Energy &
3 Montreal 46 +3 9.248 Environment

E-commerce &
4 Ottawa 89 −32 5.880 Retail

5 Kitchener Waterloo 101 +19 5.332 Education 12

Energy &
6 Calgary 116 −19 4.849 Environment

Energy &
7 Quebec City 125 +14 4.624 Environment

Energy &
8 Edmonton 126 −35 4.604 Environment

Energy &
9 Kingston 141 +3 4.193 Environment

10 Victoria 193 −48 2.414

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 57

This year, Canada has dropped from 6 to 4 ranked cities in the global top 100, after
Edmonton and Calgary dramatically fell in rank. Currently ranked 1st in Canada, Toronto
lost two spots since 2020 and is currently ranked 26th globally. The 2nd ranked Canadian
city, Vancouver, also lost 5 spots to land at 42nd globally. Both of these top cities have
been decreasing in rank since 2019, reflecting the difficulties Canada faces in generating a
critical mass of scalable startups and unicorns compared to higher ranked countries.
Toronto has managed to build a gap as the undisputed leading Canadian hub, and its mild
decline this year might signal a positive change in momentum. Canada is fortunate to have
3 cities in the top 50 globally, with the ecosystem of Montreal increasing 3 spots to rank
46th globally. Only the US and China have more cities in the top 50 than Canada, showing
the diversity of the nation’s strong global and regional hubs.
While the ecosystem of Ottawa has registered a decline of 32 spots to position 89, other
Canadian cities enjoyed solid momentum over the last year. Kitchener Waterloo, at 101st,
is at the cusp of entering the global top 100 ecosystems after jumping 19 spots. And
Quebec City is now ranked 125th globally after increasing 14 spots. The smaller city of
Kingston also continues to punch above its weight, increasing by 3 spots and maintaining
its position in the global top 150. New Canadian cities entering the top 1000 this year were
London at 503rd, St. John’s at 563rd, Charlottetown at 629th, and Stratford at 798th.
To improve, Canada will have to solidify Toronto’s position as a global hub by generating
more unicorns and success stories, while also growing its unique array of 8 other Canadian
ecosystems ranked in the global top 150.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Canada has massive potential. Considering the active approach by an efficient public
sector to develop startup ecosystems, and a relative abundance of resources, there is no
reason Canadian startup ecosystems should not take an even more substantial role in
producing massive global hubs. For this to happen, there will have to be more Canadian
startups with global impact, like the ones entrepreneurs are building in the neighbouring
United States.
An example of two successful startups shows both the opportunities and challenges facing
Canadian startups. The first, Slack, originated from a Vancouver based startup and is now
headquartered in the US, revealing the challenge of keeping aspiring Canadian companies
in Canada. The second, Shopify, is an E-commerce platform behemoth founded in Ottawa
and built by a German immigrant founder.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 58

The lessons to draw here are that Canada must
make sure its most talented entrepreneurs Notable Startups and
remain in the country while also working to Ecosystem Champions
attract high quality foreign talent. The market-
oriented economic system, high standard of  PointClickCare Unicorn
living, native English language, proximity to the
Toronto, Canada
US, and strong position of the nation’s startup
Transforming how data and people
ecosystems already make the country attractive are empowered to liberate health.
for foreign talent, which means Canada would
benefit from focusing on entrepreneur retention. Â ApplyBoard Unicorn

Waterloo, Canada
Educating the world by making
education accessible.
Please refer to the ecosystem case study section
to read an analysis of the Kingston startup  Unbounce Unicorn

ecosystem. Vancouver, Canada

Create custom landing pages with
Unbounce—no coding required.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 59

5 | Germany

Germany has had a stable year in 2021 as a diverse and powerful

startup ecosystem.
Based on country rankings, the German national startup
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
ecosystem had a stable year in 2021. Germany has
maintained its rank at 5th globally, narrowing the total
score gap from Canada at 4th, and increasing its gap from
the 6th ranked country. However, German cities were
influenced by the rise of a few Asian and American startup
2019 2020 2021
Germany ranks 4th globally for Education Technology
and Foodtech innovations. Foodtech and Transportation Technology are the two industries
where Germany has two cities in the global top 20 rankings, Berlin and Munich.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Berlin 13 −5 23.872 Foodtech 5

2 Munich 38 − 11.769 Transportation 14

Marketing &
3 Hamburg 64 −17 6.898 Sales

4 Frankfurt 97 −14 5.438 Software & Data 66

5 Stuttgart 108 +49 5.115 Hardware & IoT 25

6 Cologne 127 −5 4.584

7 Rhine-Neckar Area 130 +345 4.511 Software & Data 82

8 Bonn 161 +198 3.411

Energy &
9 Leipzig 167 −50 3.232 Environment

10 Mainz 181 +305 2.693

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 60

The German capital of Berlin is still a powerful startup hub, but has dropped out of the
global top 10 rank cities to now rank 13th. Germany’s main innovation hub has been
surpassed by Paris and is no longer the most innovative startup ecosystem city in the post-
Brexit European Union. This also means that the gap between Berlin and the 2nd ranked
German startup ecosystem, Munich, has narrowed further, after Munich kept its position at
38th globally.
Although the top 4 cities in Germany are also in the global top 100, three of them have
seen significant drops in position. In addition to the decrease in Berlin, Hamburg has fallen
17 spots to 64th, and Frankfurt has fallen 14 spots to 97th. On the national level, some
substantial changes have occured, some of which is due to the clustering of ecosystems.
Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, and Dresden are no longer in the top 10 German startup
ecosystem cities after being surpassed by Stuttgart, Rhine-Neckar, Bonn, and Mainz.
Most notably, Stuttgart has increased 49 spots to rank 108th globally, now one of
Germany’s top 5, and Bonn has jumped 198 spots to 161st. Featured last year for the first
time in Germany’s rankings, Mainz has jumped up 305 spots globally, making it one of
Germany’s top 10 cities. The most significant decline in Germany’s top 10 was Leipzig,
which fell 50 spots to 167th globally. Germany has an impressive 42 cities in the top 1000
startup ecosystems, of which 12 are new in the rankings, led by the debut of Freiburg
ranked 401st globally.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

The German startup ecosystem is diverse with dozens of cities ranking in the top 1000,
and is also fortunate to have strong startup hubs like Berlin and Munich. However,
there is still work to be done in removing the red tape that negatively affects potential
growth in German cities. Germany has a tradition of producing global scale, high quality
corporations like SAP, Siemens, and Bosch. All of these companies are funding initiatives
within the German national startup ecosystem as part of their open innovation activities. A
batch of such successful corporations is a massive advantage very few countries enjoy .
The diversity of the German startup ecosystem can also be seen in some of its notable
unicorns. In Berlin, N26 has been established as a successful Fintech startup; in Munich,
Flixbus is revolutionizing transportation between cities, with a classical model and a
new way of deploying bus fleets. Due to Brexit, some previously London-based financial
services companies like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have relocated their
European headquarters to Frankfurt. In 2021, the German startup ecosystem is focused on
deep tech, AI, and fintech.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 61

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Lilium Aviation Unicorn

Wessling, Germany
Developing, building, and launching an electric regional air mobility service connecting people
across regions.

 ATAI Life Sciences Unicorn

Munich, Germany
Redefining how the world approaches, prevents, and heals mental health disorders.

 N26 Unicorn

Berlin, Germany
N26 helps its customers manage their bank accounts through their smartphones.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 62

6 | Sweden

Sweden has become the 2nd highest ranked startup ecosystem in

the EU.
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
Sweden pulled off a major upset in the rankings this year.
This relatively small country has increased 4 spots to rank
6th globally, solidifying its position in the top 10 national
startup ecosystems worldwide.
Ranked 2nd in the European Union and 1st in Scandinavia,
2019 2020 2021 Sweden and its startup ecosystems might be Europe’s
best hope in creating a new, robust global startup hub
over the near term.
The excellent momentum enjoyed by the Swedish startup ecosystem is a result of an
outstanding Business score and a high Quality score. Sweden ranks 2nd globally for
Energy & Environment Technology as well as 5th in Social & Leisure Technology.
The highest ranked city in Sweden, Stockholm, has increased by 5 spots globally to rank
24th. Stockholm is the only Swedish city in the top 100, although Malmö is growing fast
and now ranks 137th after a jump of 106 positions. If Malmö’s startup ecosystem continues
to develop, the city could enter the top 100 in the next few years.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Energy &
1 Stockholm 24 +5 15.748 3
2 Malmö 137 +106 4.270

3 Gothenburg 171 −4 3.075

4 Lund 318 +109 0.841

5 Uppsala 416 −8 0.513

6 Linkoping 505 +69 0.363

7 Vasteras 542 +94 0.319

8 Helsingborg 572 −125 0.298

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 63

Overall, Sweden has seen a number of cities increase in the rankings, with Lund jumping
109 spots to 318th, Linkoping increasing 69 spots to 505th, and Vasteras increasing 94
spots to 542nd. There have been some exceptions to this rule, including Gothenburg,
which lost 4 spots, Uppsala, which dropped 8, and Helsingborg, which fell a dramatic 125
spots. Sweden’s Achilles heel is a relatively low Quantity score, where the country only
ranks 16th worldwide.
As for Sweden’s diversity of ecosystems, the country registered 10 cities in the top 1000
this year, including the debut of Halmstad.
The focus for Sweden over the next year should be making sure that Stockholm continues
its momentum toward becoming a leading European and global hub. Additionally, it will
be important to bring one or two more cities into the top 100 to support Stockholm at the
national level.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Sweden’s startup scene is quickly becoming one of Europe’s main innovation hubs.
Sweden has a strong reputation for gender equality, quality of life, and generous parental
leave, all of which contribute to attracting international talent.
Historically, Swedish entrepreneurs have built extremely high-quality startups, such as
Spotify, Minecraft, Klarna, and Skype. This is an achievement very few European ecosystems
can match and should be celebrated. Sweden also offers startups a broad talent pool
of tech entrepreneurs and access to early stage venture capital funding. However, the
Swedish cannot rest on historic achievements, and should continue producing high impact
global tech companies.
One of the challenges standing in the way of growth is the high cost of living in Sweden,
making it harder for startups to consider relocation unless they receive investment in
an initial phase. For the Swedish startup ecosystem to remain globally competitive, the
country must do a better job of attracting and maintaining international talent.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 64

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Epidemic Sound Unicorn

Stockholm, Sweden
MusicTech company on a mission to soundtrack the world.

 Klarna Unicorn

Stockholm, Sweden
A global tech bank on a mission to make payments and shopping as smooth as possible.

 Oatly Unicorn

Malmo, Sweden
Upgrading the lives of individuals and the general well being of the planet through a lineup of
original oat drinks.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 65

7 | China

China joins the world’s top 10, with Beijing becoming the world’s
3rd highest ranked startup ecosystem.
Startup Ecosystem Ranking China had a fantastic year, jumping 7 spots to become
the 7th most innovative national startup ecosystem in
the world, and the highest ranked ecosystem in the
Asia Pacific region. This jump should be even more
appreciated since our index is adjusted for China’s
population of 1.4 billion people.
2019 2020 2021
China has the 4th strongest Quality score in the world,
however the country currently lacks the Quantity and
Business scores that would allow it to break into the top 5. China ranks 3rd globally for
Transportation Technology and 6th for Education Technology, where Beijing and Shanghai
occupy positions 2 and 3 worldwide, respectively, surpassed only by San Francisco. China’s
dominance is very visible in the Hardware & IoT industry, where Shenzhen, Beijing, and
Shanghai rank 2nd, 3rd, and 4th globally; once again, only San Francisco ranks higher.
Beijing has jumped 3 spots to find itself ranked the 3rd most prominent startup ecosystem
in the world.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Beijing 3 +3 66.049 Education 2

2 Shanghai 7 +3 42.162 Transportation 2

3 Shenzhen 21 +12 17.403 Hardware 2

4 Hong Kong 32 +4 13.200 Transportation 22

Ecommerce &
5 Hangzhou 33 +12 13.167 16
6 Guangzhou 65 +35 6.893 Social & Leisure 25

7 Chengdu 86 +63 5.963 Transportation 36

Ecommerce &
8 Xiamen 151 −25 3.870 55

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 66

Another Chinese city that strengthened its position in the global top 10 this year, Shanghai
has registered an increase of 3 spots to 7th. These cities are also the top ranked Asian cities
in the Index. Additionally, China has a total of 7 cities in the global top 100.
Second tier Chinese cities all show positive momentum. Shenzhen registered a remarkable
12 spot jump to 21st, on the brink of becoming a global top 20 city, while Hong Kong,
which used to be the 2nd highest ranked Chinese city, is growing at a milder pace, now 4th
nationally and 32nd globally, just above Hangzhou at 33rd. The global top 100 ecosystems
also include Guangzhou at 65th and Chengdu at 86th.
To underscore the rate of change in the Chinese ecosystem, the index shows that all
Chinese cities in the rankings, except Xiamen, are either new entrants in the rankings or
have increased in rank this year. Some ecosystems have jumped more than 600 spots,
including Nanjing at 205th, Changsha at 216th, Chongqing at 236th, TianJin at 252nd and
Qingdao at 290th. 19 new Chinese cities entered the top 1000 startup ecosystem cities
this year, for a total of 40 Chinese cities in 2021. Part of this growth is reflected by the rapid
advance of the Chinese national ecosystem in the past year, while another part is due
to new information being uncovered on past innovation created in China, reflecting the
challenge of tracking innovation in real time in a relatively closed nation.
China’s ability to generate high quality, cutting edge innovation that mainly caters to
the vast local Chinese market is astonishing. However, as strong believers in openness,
collaboration, and a global mindset, we hope that these startup ecosystems will become
more internationally-oriented and interconnected over time.
This will also benefit the Chinese ecosystem, as the potential future growth of a closed
national startup ecosystem is limited. In order to truly compete on the global technological
stage, the Chinese ecosystem might be better off by integrating more with other
ecosystems, creating value for both China and the World.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

The transition that China has made from a low-tech developing country to a cutting-edge
technological power is inspiring to any country with the same aspirations. The government
has put a priority on developing technology as a strategic goal, as the nation channels
massive investments and efforts into becoming a world leader with state of the art tech

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 67

Many of China’s startups and startup ecosystems are primarily inward-facing, i.e. they focus
on its giant internal market and operate as closed gardens. This policy is now intensified
with Hong Kong’s full integration to China following recent events, hampering what used
to be an open bridge between China and the world. Given the sheer size of the country’s
internal market, Chinese ecosystems were able to achieve impressive growth and close the
gap with other leading global startup ecosystems.
The geopolitical situation and the local interest in restricting access to data continue to
create friction, which is now likely to generate a complete decoupling between China’s
ecosystem and most of the world. We still hope this process can be avoided, as the world
will greatly benefit from Chinese innovation, and China’s population will be better served
connected to the largely free global Internet, instead of a walled-in, state-supervised
version of the Web.
A few years ago, China’s corporations were becoming increasingly active as successful
players in the global consumer market, with Alibaba, Xiaomi, Huawei, and Tencent
leading the way; TikTok, a popular B2C application, has also taken the world by storm. All
these trends have now shifted, as TikTok was forced to change ownership in the US, and
Clubhouse, a prominent new US based startup, has been banned in China. Regardless,
China still manages to create unicorns at impressive rates. However, unicorns, especially
when created in a unique environment like China, are not the only indication of startup
ecosystem strength. The real indications are the number of users who willingly choose to
use these solutions globally and the traction they have with customers across the world. An
ecosystem is also measured by community activity, and the shared knowledge and vision
of young people who are seeking to build their financial independence by changing the
world. Compared to other global tech hubs, China is still lagging in these areas.
China’s most prominent unicorns are focused on automation and AI, with a strong
presence of Hardware & IoT startups in the impressive Shenzhen startup ecosystem. China
also seems to be embracing cryptocurrencies, with the creation of the Digital Yuan, and
is leading the world in launching the first digital currency fully adopted by the Chinese
central bank. We expect to see many startups focusing on this sector in the near future.
It’s understandable that Chinese entrepreneurs choose to focus locally, considering the
outstanding size of the national market. However, in the long run, China is the only country
other than the US that can directly contend for global entrepreneurial leadership. To do
that, China should aim internationally, and that can only be done by opening up to the
Internet and reducing geopolitical tensions.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 68

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Bytedance Unicorn

Beijing, China
ByteDance is a technology company operating a range of content platforms that inform, educate,
entertain, and inspire people across the world.

 WeRide Unicorn

Guangzhou, China
Transforming mobility with autonomous driving.

 Webull Unicorn

Changsha, China
Webull offers an electronic trading platform, accessible via mobile app and desktop computer.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 69

8 | Switzerland

Switzerland ranks 8th for the 4th year in a row, showing a strong
trend of consistent innovation
Switzerland has maintained its position at 8th globally
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
for its fourth consecutive year. With one of the highest
Business scores and a great Quantity score, Switzerland
has maintained stability in the rankings. Switzerland excels
primarily in Hardware & IoT innovations (4th worldwide)
and in Software & Data (5th worldwide), but the country’s
2019 2020 2021
high ranking in other industries shows how robust this
ecosystem is.
Overall, Switzerland is in the top 10 across the majority of the ranked industries.
There are only three Swiss cities in the global top 100. The highest ranked city, Zurich,
jumped 8 spots this year to rank 57th globally. Basel, the second ranked city, fell 21 spots
to 93rd. Lausanne jumped 46 spots, surpassing Geneva to rank 3rd in Switzerland and
96th globally. Geneva (118th) and Zug (166th) have also increased in rank, however Bern
(224th) and Lugano (425th) have decreased in rank.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Zurich 57 +8 7.525 Hardware 34

2 Basel 93 −21 5.512 Health 22

3 Lausanne 96 +46 5.453 Software & Data 55

Ecommerce &
4 Geneva 118 +11 4.825 60
5 Zug 166 +29 3.266

6 Sankt Gallen 204 new 2.042 Software & Data 93

7 Bern 224 −52 1.673 Software & Data 73

8 Lucerne 366 +279 0.664

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 70

In 2021, five new Swiss cities entered the
rankings: Sankt Gallen at 204th, Neuchatel at Notable Startups and
573rd, Sursee at 753rd, Fribrough at 790th
Ecosystem Champions
and Biel Bienne at 832nd. Despite the small
population size of the country, Switzerland has
 Nexthink Unicorn
14 cities ranked in the global top 1000.
Prilly, Switzerland
Nexthink is a digital employee

Startup Ecosystem Overview

experience management software.

Although Switzerland has the image of an  Roivant Sciences Unicorn

organized country, one of its key advantages is Basel, Switzerland

the relative openness of its regulators toward Roivant Sciences is a medical
change and disruption; this is clearly evident as technology development company
specialized in innovative medicines
the nation becomes one of the world’s strongest
and technologies.
Blockchain ecosystems, and especially in Zug,
where the Ethereum offices are located. In  MindMaze Unicorn
addition to Fintech, Switzerland enjoys a strong Lausanne, Switzerland
performance in the industry of life science, which Partners with healthcare and
is not surprising considering it is home to several entertainment companies to
global pharmaceutical companies, including harness the power of the brain
Novartis. to deepen human/machine
Switzerland’s public sector is focused on
promoting entrepreneurial awareness and
positive attitudes towards startups. Additionally,
the country has strong physical, commercial,
and professional infrastructures for supporting Our Ecosystem Partners
entrepreneurship. Although the Swiss
entrepreneurial ecosystem has been affected
by the COVID-19 pandemic, the stability of
the Swiss economy ensures that entrepreneurs
are supported and can be confident in future

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 71

9 | Australia

In spite of experiencing a decrease of 2 spots, Australia has

managed to hold a position in the top 10 global startup ecosystems
Australia has fallen 2 spots this year, from 7th to 9th
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
globally. The country’s strongest ranked industry is
E-commerce & Retail Technology, where Australia is 3rd
worldwide. The country has maintained its top 10 position
even while experiencing the same negative momentum
previously seen in 2020.
2019 2020 2021
Though Australia has strong Quantity and Business scores,
the country seems to be slipping in the rankings as other
countries become more competitive.
In 2021, the two leading ecosystems in Australia have narrowed their gaps, ending up
with similar ranks. Sydney has fallen by 5 spots to 36th, while Melbourne increased by 1
position to rank 39th globally, as well as 33rd for the Energy & Environment Technology
industry. Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide have all significantly decreased in rankings, with
Brisbane dropping from the top 100 global startup ecosystem cities.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Energy &
1 Sydney 36 −5 11.998 19
Energy &
2 Melbourne 39 +1 10.572 33
3 Brisbane 112 −34 4.945 Social & Leisure 59

Energy &
4 Perth 175 −39 2.924 78
5 Adelaide 198 −48 2.170

6 Sunshine Coast 249 +10 1.370 Foodtech 50

7 Canberra 269 −62 1.202

8 Gold Coast 276 −52 1.136

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 72

All other Australian cities have decreased in
rankings, with the exception of three: Sunshine Notable Startups and
Coast has increased by 10 spots globally, and
Ecosystem Champions
is now the 6th ranked ecosystem in Australia,
above Canberra and Gold Coast. Hobart has
 Canva Unicorn
also jumped by 31 spots to 439rd globally.
Sydney, Australia
Newcastle, at 464th, has made a happy debut in
Canva is a graphic design tool used
the top 1000 cities this year. from a website and app.
In order to rekindle growth, Australia will need to
generate more high quality startups and unicorns, Â Stan
like most of the countries ranked below it. Sydney, Australia
Stan is an Australian streaming
Startup Ecosystem Overview company which offers subscription
to unlimited viewing of selected
Australia has a solid startup ecosystem, with movies and TV shows.
a few of the country’s startups becoming well
known global brands, such as Canva and  ClipChamp
Atlassian. However, it is still a young ecosystem, Brisbane, Australia
and considering how fast other nations are Clipchamp offers a unique digital
video processing tool.
developing their startup hubs, Australia needs
more inspiring startups to scale globally.
Australia enjoys a smart and proactive approach Please refer to the case study
from its federal and state governments, section to read a detailed analysis of
supporting the growth of its startup ecosystems. Sunshine Coast’s startup ecosystem.
Another advantage we have witnessed in
Australia is the direct involvement of universities
as active stakeholders in the development of Our Ecosystem Partners
the city ecosystems, which adds to the inertia
of creating an entrepreneurial culture and
forges connections that improve funding and
opportunities for startups.
Some significant obstacles facing the growth of
Australian ecosystems are the time difference
and the traveling time between Australia and
the US and Europe, which create challenges for
partnerships, sales teams, and integrated remote

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 73

10 | Singapore

Singapore jumps into the top 10 after a year of innovation.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Singapore has had a great year, jumping 6 spots from
16th globally in 2020 to 10th in 2021. This is the first time
Asian countries have been represented on the global top
10 list (China also entered the top 10 this year).
This substantial increase in rank showcases how quickly
2019 2020 2021 Singapore’s startup ecosystem is developing. Singapore
has a strong Quality score and a substantial Quantity
score, however Singapore’s Business score is low
compared to most other countries in the top 10 (with the exception of China).
Globally, Singapore ranks 5th in Transportation Technology and in E-commerce & Retail
Technology, 7th in Education Technology, and 10th in three more industries. As a country
overperforming in multiple industries, Singapore has a promising future ahead. Singapore
City is now ranked in the global top 25 after increasing 1 spot.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Singapore City 25 +1 15.713 Transportation 10

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Singapore is a model for innovation and continues the pattern of a relatively small country
massively over-performing and creating regional impact as an open and powerful Asian
hub. The dominance of Grab is a great example of how Singapore is becoming the
headquarters of Asian activities for leading startups.
Singapore’s startup ecosystem has many public sector policies that are beneficial to
startups, like efficient tax legislation and ease of doing business. Organizations like
Enterprise Singapore have accelerator programs that allow early stage startups to access
financial aid and business loans. Singapore’s public sector is highly supportive of the
startup ecosystem, and considering the country’s stability and infrastructure, it is also
becoming a regional entry point for expansion to the Asian market.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 74

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Trax Unicorn

Singapore City, Singapore

Harnessing the power of digital technologies for brands, retailers, and shoppers.

 PatSnap Unicorn

Singapore City, Singapore

The world’s leading connected innovation intelligence platform.

 Grab Unicorn

Singapore City, Singapore

The Grab app assigns taxis and privately hired cars to nearby commuters through a location-
sharing system.

Please refer to the case study section to read a detailed analysis of Singapore’s startup

Our Ecosystem Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 75

11 | The Netherlands

The Netherlands had a decrease in the ranking, dropping out of the

top 10.
The Netherlands has had a difficult year, falling 5 spots
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
and out of the top 10 from 6th to 11th globally.
This decline could be attributed to the capital city of
Amsterdam’s 9 spot decline to now rank 29th globally, or
to the country’s overall decline in Quality and Business
2019 2020 2021
scores (from positions 6 and 13 respectively in 2020 to
positions 10 and 19 respectively in 2021).
The Netherlands is now ranked 3rd in the EU after Germany and Sweden. Additionally, the
Netherlands ranks 3rd worldwide in Foodtech, 9th in Energy & Environment Technology,
10th in E-commerce & Retail Technology, and it ranks high in Fintech. Amsterdam strongly
overperforms in Foodtech, where it ranks 8th worldwide.
Amsterdam remains the only Dutch city in the top 100 list. Of the top five startup
ecosystem cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam and Rotterdam have decreased in ranking,
with the latter falling 47 spots to 172nd globally.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Amsterdam 29 −9 13.578 Foodtech 8

E-commerce &
2 The Hague 123 +134 4.644 71
3 Utrecht 131 +30 4.497
Energy &
4 Eindhoven 157 +36 3.552 24
5 Rotterdam 172 −47 3.027

6 Maastricht 350 +52 0.693

7 Groningen 395 −50 0.550

8 Enschede 404 −7 0.538

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 76

On the other hand, The Hague has jumped
134 spots and is currently ranked 123rd, Notable Startups and
moving from 5th in the Netherlands to 2nd, and
Ecosystem Champions
marking the most significant jump in the Dutch
rankings. Utrecht ranked 131rd and Eindhoven
 Adyen Unicorn
ranked 157th, both increasing in global rank
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
but maintaining their positions as 3rd and 4th
Adyen builds a payments platform
respectively in the Dutch national rankings. from the ground up to help fast-
The Netherlands currently has a total of 22 growing businesses.
ranked cities, showing that innovation is
widespread throughout this relatively small  Booking.com Unicorn

nation. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Booking.com is one of the world’s
If the Netherlands aspires to improve its already leading digital travel companies.
high rankings, there will have to be more Dutch
founders generating startups with global impact. Â Bitfury Unicorn

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Bitfury is the leading full-service
Startup Ecosystem Overview blockchain technology company.

The Netherlands is home to influential startups

that have developed into global players,
including TomTom, Booking.com, Adyen, and
many more.
The Netherlands offers an outstanding level
of urban innovation and quality of life to both
local entrepreneurs and immigrating talent.
The Netherlands is already primed for global
scaling, especially considering the high level Our
of English spoken in the country and the tax Ecosystem Partner
structure which encourages foreigners to work
in the Netherlands. The country is also culturally
impacting the global startup ecosystem with
strong tech media and events (TheNextWeb),
and bootstrapping thought leaders like Pieter
Levels (NomadList).

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 77

12 | France

France has maintained its ranking; Paris has become the highest
ranked city in the European Union.
France has maintained the 12th spot in the global
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
rankings. France ranks strongly for a number of industries,
and is in the top 10 for E-commerce & Retail Technology,
Education Technology, Foodtech, Social & Leisure
12 12
Technology, Hardware & IoT, Transportation Technology,
and Health Technology.
2019 2020 2021
Paris has gained 1 spot to rank 11th among cities,
overtaking Berlin and becoming the strongest startup
ecosystem in the European Union. Most notably, Paris is ranked 6th in the world for the
Social & Leisure Technology industry. Interestingly, Paris is the only French city in the global
top 100, revealing a massive gap between Paris and other French ecosystems.
With a national rank of 4th in 2020, Toulouse is now 2nd in France after increasing 73 spots
to rank 132nd globally. In third place, Marseille jumped 41 spots to 163rd, while Lyon
decreased 24 spots to 164th. Additionally, Bordeaux has climbed 16 spots to rank 5th in
France, replacing Montpellier after the city’s 49 spot decrease.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
E-commerce &
1 Paris 11 +1 25.297 8
2 Toulouse 132 +73 4.477 Transportation 34

Energy &
3 Marseille 163 +41 3.314 71
4 Lyon 164 −24 3.304

5 Bordeaux 215 +16 1.822

6 Nantes 232 +7 1.577

7 Lille 233 − 1.549

8 Rennes 243 −21 1.439

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 78

France has 8 new cities that have entered the ranking in 2021, with Rouen in the top 500.
This brings France to an impressive total of 24 cities in the rankings.
The major weakness of the French ecosystem is the over reliance on Paris as a leading hub.
For a country with the size and influence of France, the focus should be pushing at least
one additional ecosystem into the global top 100.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

France’s public sector is highly active on all fronts in developing local startup ecosystems. It
is quite unique to have the leader of a country, Macron, involved directly in the promotion
and development efforts of the startup scene. This has created a variety of strong
organizations whose activities are also international. The most notable is La French Tech,
while Station-F and The Family are more private sector oriented.
French government initiatives aimed at boosting investments in new high-risk projects
and SME modernization seem to be helpful, such as tax breaks to business angels for
reinvesting capital gains in innovative firms and the streamlining of business creation
procedures. However, the direct investment in startups made by the public sector seems
to be relatively high compared to other ecosystems, an example being the State bank of
Bpifrance, one of the major players in startup funding nationally. It should be noted that
relatively strict labor laws and other pending issues are still limiting the potential of the
French ecosystem to grow startups at full speed. The difficulties in reforming the economy
affect the ability of the local startup ecosystem to grow faster and achieve its potential,
which is a good lesson: regardless of the strategic vision of any country in developing its
startup ecosystem, you can’t separate it from the regulations and situations on the ground
in each country. It’s inspiring to see that some French startups are already leaving their
mark globally (Blabla car and Ledger are two of our favorites), and there is much potential
for future growth, if regulation and policies can be crafted that unleash the power of
the ecosystem. AI is one industry that seems to be in focus over recent years in France,
supported by direct government investment, and time will tell if France can become a
global leader in this field.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 79

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Deezer Unicorn

Paris, France
Deezer is a digital music streaming service.

 BlaBlaCar Unicorn

Paris, France
BlaBlaCar is the world’s leading long distance carpooling service, connecting drivers with empty
seats to people travelling the same way.

 Ledger Unicorn

Paris, France
Ledger develops security and infrastructure solutions for cryptocurrencies as well as blockchain
applications for individuals and companies.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 80

13 | Estonia

Estonia ranks 5th in the European Union.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Estonia has decreased in the ranking by 2 spots to 13th
globally, but retains exceptional Quantity, Quality, and
Business scores for a small nation of only 1.5 million. The
country excels in the startup rankings in several industries,
ranking 2nd worldwide in Transportation Technology,
and reaching the global top 10 in a number of other
2019 2020 2021
industries, including Software & Data, Marketing & Sales
Technology, and Hardware & IoT.
Estonia has 2 cities ranked in the global startup ecosystem index. Tallinn has maintained its
position as Estonia’s highest ranked city at 66th globally, making it the strongest ecosystem
in the Baltic region. Tallinn strongly overperforms in the Marketing & Sales Technology
industry, where it is ranked 11th worldwide, and in the Transportation Technology industry,
where it is ranked 33rd. However, Estonia’s only other city in the ranking, Tartu, has fallen 40
spots to 275th.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Marketing &
1 Tallinn 66 − 6.888 11
2 Tartu 275 −40 1.139

Startup Ecosystem Overview

One of the most important milestones in the history of the Estonian ecosystem was the
success of Skype, which was largely developed in Estonia. Skype’s founders used this exit
windfall to support new successful local startups. The Skype Mafia, as they are called, show
how big an impact one exit can have on the culture of an entire startup ecosystem.
There have also been effective and aggressive marketing efforts performed by the
Estonian public sector, the likes of which we have not seen anywhere else in the world.
Examples of this include innovative projects that started in Estonia and are now being
copied by dozens of countries: Estonian E-residency, startup and nomad visas, and the
branding of companies as completely digitized.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 81

These efforts result in the word Estonia now
being whispered by digital nomads and small Notable Startups and
business owners in many developing countries,
Ecosystem Champions
an impressive accomplishment for a country of
less than 2 million inhabitants.
 Bolt Unicorn
However, Estonia’s challenges remain unchanged Tallinn, Estonia
as it aspires to grow. First, Estonia must make Bolt is a leading transportation
sure actual results on the ground match the platform in 150 cities in Europe and
expectations created by its effective marketing Africa.
efforts. Second, Estonia must be forewarned that
initiatives like e-residency and the nomad visa  Toggl
can attract lifestyle businesses to Estonia instead Tallinn, Estonia
of making it a serious hub for scale startups that Toggl is an online time-tracking
could expand globally or seek access to capital
and potential clients. Estonian capital markets
and private investors have yet to catch up with
Tallinn, Estonia
the country’s potential. Estonia should also
BitBay is a Bitcoin and Litecoin
carefully transition from a development center, exchange.
where companies from wealthier countries might
come to develop startups (e.g. Skype, Playtech),
and instead focus on building its own locally
sourced startups, especially considering that the
cost of living in Estonia is growing to match the
country’s economic success. Estonia has proved
it can produce successful startups like Wise, Bolt,
and Pipedrive. After Wise has transitioned to
London, the challenge will be to convince new
emerging startups that they can achieve their
expansion goals within the Estonian ecosystem.
According to the Startup Estonia White Paper Our Country Partner
2021-2027, the nation continues to support its
growing startup ecosystem, has set a number of
goals focused on growing the Estonian startup
and technology sector to 15% GDP by 2025,
and actively promotes an all-inclusive startup

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 82

14 | Finland

Finland is the second highest ranked country in Scandinavia.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking Maintaining a spot in the top 15, Finland decreased by
one position this year to rank 14th globally. Finland is
one of the top startup ecosystems in Europe, ranking 2nd
after Sweden in Scandinavia. Finland’s slow decline in the
rankings can be attributed to the country’s low Quantity
score which shows a lower number of startups operating
2019 2020 2021 in the Finnish ecosystem. On the other hand, Finland
ranks 7th worldwide for Business score, highlighting the
country’s steadfast infrastructure and regulatory embrace of innovation. Finland excels
primarily in two industries: it is ranked 6th worldwide in Marketing & Sales Technology, and
7th in Energy & Environment Technology.
The highest ranked city in Finland is Helsinki, ranked 44th globally after a decline of 5 spots
since last year. Helsinki ranks highly for a number of industries, including Marketing &
Sales Technology, E-commerce & Retail Technology, Social & Leisure Technology, Energy &
Environment Technology, and Software & Data. The second highest ranked city, Tampere,
has decreased by 1 spot to 326th globally.
Finland has 3 cities ranked in the global top 200 for the Hardware & IoT industry: Helsinki
at 13th, Oulu 163th, and Tampere 169th. The Finnish city of Joensuu has made a debut in
the rankings this year, giving Finland a total of 6 ranked cities, 4 of which are in the global
top 500.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Helsinki 44 −5 10.006 Hardware & IoT 18

Marketing &
2 Tampere 326 −1 0.790 11
3 Oulu 332 +11 0.767

4 Turku 380 +15 0.595

5 Jyvaskyla 672 +138 0.221

6 Joensuu 716 new 0.203

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 83

Startup Ecosystem Overview
Finland’s technological peak was during the Notable Startups and
period of Nokia, which dominated the global Ecosystem Champions
market in its industry. The ecosystem has fully
recovered from the decline of Nokia, as local  Supercell Unicorn

entrepreneurs and the public sector work Helsinki, Finland

together to create innovative impactful startups, Supercell is a mobile game
such as Supercell and the increasingly popular development company.
 Wolt Unicorn
The public sector in Finland offers many Helsinki, Finland
incentives and is generally quite supportive of A food payment and delivery
startups. It should also be noted that one of the service.
world’s biggest global startup events involving
tens of thousands of participants, Slush, is now  Small Giant Games
hosted in Finland, giving the nation’s rankings a Helsinki, Finland
boost. Small Giant Games is one of the
fastest-growing mobile game
The country has consolidated its stake in companies in the world.
gaming and has an increasing amount of tech
innovations aimed at developing this sector. In
addition to the dominant gaming industry (any
angry birds players here? It’s Finnish as well),
one sector that recently seems to be growing in
Finland is the Space industry, where innovative
Finnish startups are taking a growing global role.
Helsinki must try to regain its positive momentum
and become a strong regional hub to advance
further into the top 40. Additionally, Finland
should work to support the development
of other startup ecosystems lagging behind
Helsinki, and aim to cultivate at least one
additional ecosystem to supplement national

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 84

15 | Spain

Spain’s two top ecosystems have substantially decreased in 2021.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Spain has had a difficult year, falling out of the top 10
to rank 15th globally. Yet the composition of its ranking
scores tells a more balanced story. Spain ranks 9th
worldwide for Quantity score, and its ranking for Business
score improved from 21st in 2020 to 17th in 2021.
However, Spain’s ranking on Quality score experienced
2019 2020 2021 a sharp decline from position 9th globally in 2020 to
19th in 2021, contributing to the country’s decline in
rank. Regionally, Spain ranks 7th for countries in the EU, with Barcelona ranked 5th and
Madrid ranked 8th for EU cities. Spain overperforms strongly in a number of industries, the
strongest of which are E-commerce & Retail Technology (4th worldwide), Foodtech (5th),
and Software & Data (7th).
Interestingly, the highest ranked city in Spain, Barcelona, has declined by 10 spots to 37th
globally. However, Barcelona is excelling specifically in the Foodtech industry, now ranked
6th in the world.
The capital of Spain and second highest ranked city, Madrid, has also declined by 10 spots
to 45th globally.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Barcelona 37 −10 11.918 Foodtech 6

2 Madrid 45 −10 9.553 Hardware & IoT 24

3 Valencia 146 +10 4.021 Health 95

4 Bilbao 217 −23 1.821

Las Palmas de Gran
5 225 +4 1.660
Santa Cruz de
6 245 −8 1.429
7 Malaga 293 −43 1.009

8 Seville 299 +21 0.975

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 85

Valencia, 3rd nationally, has increased 10 spots to 146th globally, while Bilbao has
decreased by 23 spots to 217th. The two Canary Island cities of Las Palmas de Gran
Canaria and Santa Cruz de Tenerife have maintained their positions of 5th and 6th in Spain
but Las Palmas has increased by 4 spots while Santa Cruz has decreased by 8 spots on the
global scale.
In 2021, Malaga registered a significant fall of 43 spots, but Seville has increased by 21
spots to rank 299th. Spain currently has 28 cities in the rankings, thanks to a number of new
cities entering the top 1000, including Donostia-San Sebastian at 607th, Gijon at 614th,
Girona at 615th, Vitoria at 726th and Logorno at 900th.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

The Spanish startup ecosystem is younger than other European countries and offers
entrepreneurs a more affordable cost of living. With Barcelona and Madrid being massive
innovation hubs, Spain offers two mature ecosystems. The main priority for Spain should
be to increase the positive momentum of these two cities as they are the backbone of the
Spanish national startup ecosystem.
Ironically, long-term high unemployment rates in Spain have had positive effects on the
Spanish startup ecosystem, as the difficulty in finding high quality jobs pushes more
people toward becoming entrepreneurs. This phenomenon is especially relevant in times
of crisis where the social public safety net is contracting.
The Spanish government has launched Spain Entrepreneurial Nation, a ten-year plan
to prioritize startups and position them to drive innovation in the country. Nevertheless,
Spain suffers from government regulation, especially in fintech, and lack of experience in
producing SaaS tech companies. Spain also needs more experienced entrepreneurs to
help lead the ecosystem, as most senior talent moves away to other ecosystems.
A core advantage Spain enjoys is a shared language, and a deep connection with, Latin
America. As Latin American startup ecosystems grow, it is natural that they work with Spain
as their gate into European and other global markets.

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Canary
Islands startup ecosystem.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 86

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Glovo Unicorn

Barcelona, Spain
Glovo is transforming the way that consumers access local goods by enabling anyone to have
virtually any product delivered in less than 60 minutes.

 Cabify Unicorn

Madrid, Spain
Cabify is a marketplace for personal transportation.

Madrid, Spain
Bnext is the first Financial Supermarket, a bank created by millennials and for millennials.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 87

16 | Lithuania

Lithuania finally has its first ever unicorn.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking Lithuania has had a slight decrease in ranking, falling one
spot to rank 16th globally.
Lithuania has a very strong Quantity score (7th worldwide)
but is challenged by a lower Quality score that reflects the
lack of traction produced by Lithuanian startups.
2019 2020 2021 Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and its highest ranked
startup ecosystem, has fallen 9 spots to rank 84th globally,
while Kaunas, the second highest ranked city, has decreased by 23 spots to 135th.
Lithuania can still celebrate two strong city hubs, since Kaunas is the only non-capital city
in the Baltic region ranked in the top 150. Lithuania has also added Klaipeda, the third and
final Lithuanian startup ecosystem in the Global Startup Ecosystem Index.
Lithuania performs very well globally in a number of industry rankings. Among the
country’s strongest industries are Energy & Environment Technology, Fintech, Marketing
& Sales Technology, and Software & Data. The capital city Vilnius performs especially well
in Fintech and in Marketing & Sales Technology, while Kaunas overperforms in Energy &
Environment Technology.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Marketing &
1 Vilnius 84 −9 6.037 29
Energy &
2 Kaunas 135 −23 4.302 69
3 Klaipeda 797 new 0.176

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 88

Startup Ecosystem Overview
The relatively low cost of living in Lithuania and Notable Startups and
its skilled software developers are a positive Ecosystem Champions
boost to the national ecosystem. Fintech is a
core industry focus in Lithuania, where constant  Vinted Unicorn

innovation and the government’s easing of Vilnius, Lithuania

regulation, including a blockchain sandbox, Vinted is a Lithuanian online
is attracting major international players. One marketplace and community that
allows its users to buy and sell.
example is the UK-based fintech startup Revolut,
which has recently launched a licensed bank in
Kaunas, Lithuania
Lithuania’s fintech efforts also seem to be Hostinger is an employee-owned
paying off, as a fintech report by our partners at Web hosting provider and internet
Findexable ranked Lithuania in the surprising 4th domain registrar.
spot globally in 2020. But fintech is not the only
sector providing good news. Lithuania is now  GOSU AI
celebrating its first ever unicorn, Vinted, showing Vilnius, Lithuania
the potential of Lithuanian startups to scale both An artificial intelligence based
platform for sportsmen and
regionally and globally. Startups in Lithuania are
multiplayer online game players.
also focused on digital management systems
and health technology, as well as the gaming
Fortunately for Lithuania, the public sector is
extremely active in ecosystem promotion and
development. With friendly business regulations, Our Ecosystem Partners
government support for funding, and an
open data policy, Lithuania’s public sector has
created an environment that nurtures startups.
Additionally, Lithuania has a startup visa that can
be applied for by foreign startups, allowing a
temporary residence permit for up to a year.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 89

17 | Russia

Russia remains in the top 20, and Moscow is the 2nd highest ranked
city in Europe.
Russia has maintained its position at 17th and remains in
Startup Ecosystem Ranking
the global top 20.
Russia has a good Quality score and overperforms
in a number of industries: 2nd globally in Education
Technology, 8th in Social & Leisure Technology, 9th in
2019 2020 2021
Foodtech, 10th in Marketing & Sales Technology, and 12th
in three additional industries.
Moscow is still ranked 9th worldwide, maintaining its position in the global top 10.
Additionally, Moscow is the 2nd highest ranked city in Europe, after London. Moscow
excels in Education Technology and is now ranked 4th globally, as well as ranking 7th
for both Energy & Environment Technology and Marketing & Sales Technology, and 8th
for Health Technology and Transportation Technology. There is a massive gap between
Moscow and the second highest ranked Russian city, Saint Petersburg, which has fallen 52
spots to 199th globally.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Moscow 9 − 25.401 Education 4

2 Saint Petersburg 199 −52 2.140 Social & Leisure 89

3 Novosibirsk 400 −34 0.541

4 Kazan 428 −87 0.484

5 Kaliningrad 610 +289 0.264

6 Chelyabinsk 637 −111 0.245

7 Tomsk 677 +272 0.220

8 Yekaterinburg 680 −138 0.218

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 90

Novosibirsk and Kazan have ranked 3rd and 4th nationally, but have also fallen significantly
in the global rankings. Kaliningrad has risen by a dramatic 289 spots to 610th globally, and
with the addition of 3 new cities in 2021, Russia currently has 16 ranked cities.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Russia’s startup ecosystems are relatively unknown in the west, but after visiting you can
clearly see a global tech powerhouse in motion, boosted by a massive pool of expert
technical founders. This also brings to light the massive challenges the ecosystem is facing,
especially for startups that are aiming to scale for global reach. Russia is a big enough
market to allow its startup founders to create substantial revenue by building high quality
technology exclusively for Russian buyers. However, this can also be a disadvantage, since
it reduces the motivation to look globally as part of a startup core strategy.
One of the reasons for domestic focus is the geopolitical situation affecting the ability of
Russian startups to go global without facing restrictions on travel and money transfers.
This brings two undesired results; first, a loss of high-quality founders that disconnect from
Russia and set up their operations in other countries. Some of the founders of Telegram,
Google, Revolut, and Ethereum were born in Russia, so the price of this disconnection
is clear, albeit while showing the capability of Russian entrepreneurs to build global
companies. Second, some massively successful Russian startups and unicorns have
transitioned their headquarters to other countries while keeping most of their operations
and development in Russia.
The Russian public sector, in addition to building highly involved corporate accelerators,
are actively supporting entrepreneurs with programs like the Skolkovo center, an
outstanding large scale organization which is a testament to the government’s dedication
to becoming a global tech leader. Regardless of the challenges, the efforts to reform the
economy continue, as shown by a 2020 increase in Russia’s Doing Business rankings. This
is much needed, considering the crunch of foreign tech investments in Russia. Russia’s
startup ecosystem will have to decide between a global integration model that connects
with other countries and markets, or a domestic closed garden model similar to China. We
believe both Russia and the world would greatly benefit from the former.

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Moscow’s
startup ecosystem.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 91

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Acronis Unicorn

Moscow, Russia
Acronis is a cloud data protection services company.

 OCSiAl Unicorn

Moscow, Russia
OCSiAl is a global nanotechnology company that specializes in mass producing low-cost graphene

Moscow, Russia
An application that records the actions of users in video format.

Our Ecosystem Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 92

18 | Ireland

Dublin has increased by 3 spots and is reaching for top 50.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking Ireland has retained its position at 18th globally, and ranks
15th for both Education Technology and Foodtech.
The city of Dublin has reversed its negative momentum
from last year, increasing by 3 spots to 51st globally.
Dublin ranks in the global top 50 for Hardware & IoT and
2019 2020 2021 Software & Data innovations.
The second highest ranked city in Ireland, Cork has had
the most significant increase in rankings, leaping 118 spots to 314th. Galway, on the other
hand, Ireland’s 3rd ranked city, has fallen by 6 spots to 319th globally.
Limerick has had a big jump of 75 spots which we expect will push the city into the top
500 in the coming years. The other two ranked Irish cities, Waterford and Dundalk, have
dropped to 845th and 915th respectively.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Ireland is perfectly located between North America and Europe, and has the only native
English-speaking population in the EU after Brexit. Combine that with its generous tax
policy, which encouraged giants like Google and Facebook to place their international
headquarters in the country, and you have a great starting point for a global hub.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Dublin 51 +3 8.309 Software & Data 41

2 Cork 314 +118 0.853

3 Galway 319 −6 0.838

4 Limerick 531 +75 0.336

5 Waterford 845 −91 0.160

6 Dundalk 915 −47 0.131

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 93

Since Brexit, Dublin has been the most popular
EU city to relocate to for United Kingdom Notable Startups and
financial service firms.
Ecosystem Champions
However, Ireland’s potential has yet to be fully
realized, and talented Irish founders still choose  Workhuman Unicorn
to relocate and establish their startups in more Dublin, Ireland
prominent ecosystems (e.g. Stripe, which was Workhuman mobile app helps
founded by the Collision brothers). recognize colleagues, manage
performance, redeem awards, and
The lack of incentive to stay and scale startups approve nominations while on the
in the Irish ecosystem is resulting in a lack of go.
unicorns, which in turn results in a low level of
investment. Additionally, the presence of high  Fluix
profile American corporations, which is great Dublin, Ireland
for the economy, is also creating a challenge for Fluix is a document workflow
the ecosystem, as many potential entrepreneurs management software that
have options to work high paid jobs for streamlines operations.
established companies instead of following
the uncertain path of entrepreneurship. This
elephant in the room and its impact on the local Dublin, Ireland
startup ecosystem will have to be addressed by Localmint is a platform on which
retailers can publish key store
decision makers to counter its effect on the local information like opening hours and
startup ecosystem. location details.
xThe public agency Enterprise Ireland is
providing generous support for local startups,
yet the results are not good enough to boost the
creation of a massive private investment scene
just yet.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 94

19 | South Korea

South Korea has added 5 new cities to the top 1000 ranking.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking South Korea has kept its rank of 19th globally for the
third consecutive year. Additionally, South Korea ranks
4th in the Asia-Pacific region behind Singapore, Australia,
and China. South Korea is in the top 20 globally for
Transportation Technology (9th), Health Technology (14th)
and Social & Leisure Technology (15th) innovations, and
2019 2020 2021
performs well in a number of other industries.
The capital city Seoul has fallen 2 spots to 23rd in the
Global Startup Ecosystem Index due to the movement of high momentum ecosystems in
North America and Asia. We expect to see Seoul rank in the top 20 next year thanks to its
impressive Quality score.
The main achievement of the Korean startup ecosystem is that four new Korean cities have
entered the ranking this year, giving South Korea 5 cities in the top 1000. Busan is the
highest ranked new city at 162nd, Daejeon is ranked 557th, Gwangju 755th, and Incheon
840th. With these cities entering the ranking, South Korea has been able to demonstrate
that its entrepreneurial innovation is not limited to Seoul.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

South Korea is a nation with a proven track record of building outstanding global
corporations while also creating an impressive amount of tech unicorns, such as Coupang,
the e-commerce site. However, it still has a long way to go to build an innovative startup

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Seoul 23 −2 16.680 Social & Leisure 13

2 Busan 162 new 3.383

3 Daejeon 557 new 0.311

4 Gwangju 755 new 0.189

5 Incheon 840 new 0.161

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 95

The country’s biggest advantage is the number Notable Startups and
of global companies (such as Samsung and Ecosystem Champions
LG) that can potentially provide investment and
support to local entrepreneurs. On the other  Socar Unicorn
hand, the abundance of high quality, respectable Busan, South Korea
jobs in those companies might also be keeping Socar is South Korea’s number 1
potential entrepreneurs working as employees car-sharing platform, with a mission
instead of venturing to build their own startups. to change the world through
innovation in mobility.
The government is well aware of this challenge,
and is investing heavily in startups, as well as  Aprogen Unicorn
creating regulatory sandboxes that decrease Seongnam-si, South Korea
legal risk for entrepreneurs. South Korean Aprogen is a biologics platform
startups benefit from some of the most forward company focused on developing
thinking and comprehensive government and manufacturing biosimilar
support in the world. The public sector is products.
covering a lot of ground by supporting SMEs and
 Toss Unicorn
startups, with $1.4 billion earmarked for startup
support in 2021. Seoul, South Korea
Toss has become a key financial
However, just as in many other countries, cultures super app for South Korea.
and mindsets take a long time to change. The
main challenge South Korea confronts is how to
promote a cultural transition that encourages
potential entrepreneurs to embrace risk and
create startups as an alternative path to the norm Our Ecosystem Partners
of climbing the corporate ladder.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 96

20 | India

India has returned to the top 20 and Bangalore is a top 10 city.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking After dropping 6 spots in 2020, India has increased its
ranking by 3 spots to re-enter the global top 20. India is the
5th highest ranked ecosystem in the Asia-Pacific region,
ranking 8th globally in Education and 10th in Transportation
2019 2020 2021 Great news for Bangalore: India’s top city has increased 4
spots to 10th and is now a global top 10 startup ecosystem.
Bangalore is ranked 4th in Transportation Technology, 6th in
Education Technology, and 9th in Marketing & Sales Technology.
New Delhi is ranked 2nd in India and has jumped 1 spot globally to 14th. New Delhi also ranks
7th globally in both Transportation Technology and in Social & Leisure Technology. Mumbai,
ranked 3rd in India, and has jumped 6 spots globally to 16th, entering the top 20. India now
has 3 cities in the top 20, an achievement only surpassed by the United States, showing the vast
growth potential of the Indian startup ecosystem (something not even China has achieved).
The majority of Indian cities are increasing in rankings and the gap between cities is not huge,
meaning that innovation in India is relatively widespread.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Bangalore 10 +4 25.367 Transportation 4

2 New Delhi 14 +1 22.379 Social & Leisure 7

3 Mumbai 16 +6 19.414
E-commerce &
4 Pune 104 −2 5.261 50
5 Hyderabad 106 −10 5.161 Education 64

6 Chennai 133 −20 4.448 Education 62

7 Ahmedabad 176 +11 2.923

8 Jaipur 195 +39 2.278 Education 78

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 97

With 9 new Indian cities entering the ranking this year, India currently has 43 cities in the top
1000; 3 in the top 100, 8 in the top 200, and 20 in the top 500. Although India was badly
affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been little evidence of this affecting the Indian
startup ecosystem.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

India is a country of great potential considering its population size and education levels.
There is a reason why Indian born CEOs are managing companies like Alphabet and
Microsoft, and why some of India’s top talent is relocating to the West.
Some immense infrastructure problems remain in the country, which gravely affects
entrepreneurs and their startups. Internet speed is low compared to most other countries,
and power outages are frequent. The Indian government needs to take additional steps to
improve this critical infrastructure and strengthen its startup ecosystem, as other countries
in the region are growing fast.
The country is economically on the right path, but startups cannot focus solely on the local
market since the future pace of economic growth is now uncertain for most developing
countries. Instead, they must find innovative solutions that are in use globally across
multiple markets. Successfully adapting technology that works in other counties was an
important step, but now is the time for India to take a global leadership role.
Considering that India is still a role model of free speech and enjoys excellent ties with
most of the world, we are optimistic about its chance to continue to grow and assume a
bigger role in the global startup ecosystem. When considering India’s core advantage of
an educated, English-speaking population, the country’s potential is limitless.
The Indian startup ecosystem has shifted the focus of their projects toward digital solutions
and fintech, setting aside the previous e-commerce successes of unicorns like Flipkart and
BigBasket. The US remains the biggest source of FDI for Indian startups, and the focus for
investment is mainly flowing into fintech startups working on new models of banking, like

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 98

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Zomato Unicorn

Gurgaon, India
Zomato is an app-based restaurant aggregator and food delivery company.

 OYO Rooms Unicorn

Gurgaon, India
OYO Rooms, also known as OYO Hotels & Homes, is an Indian hospitality chain of leased and
franchised hotels, homes and living spaces.

 Razorpay Unicorn

Bangalore, India
Razorpay is a platform that helps businesses accept, process and disburse payments.

Our City Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 99

21 | Japan

Kyoto has jumped to overtake Osaka as the 2nd highest ranked city
in Japan.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Japan is ranked 21st, maintaining the same global rank
as 2020. In the Asia Pacific region, Japan ranks 6th
nationally and Tokyo ranks 5th among cities. However, an
interesting regional story emerges when comparing the
scores of South Korea, India, and Japan over the last two
years. The gaps in scores between these countries are
2019 2020 2021
very small, meaning that slight changes in performance
could reshuffle their rankings next year. While still ranked
lower than South Korea in 2021, Japan has now closed most of the previous year’s gap
with South Korea, while India has increased its score to meet both Japan and South Korea.
South Korea, India, and Japan are nearly tied at 19th, 20th, and 21st respectively.
Tokyo has seen a minor increase of 1 spot to rank 15th globally, establishing a strong
position in the global top 20. Tokyo ranks in the top 20 for Education Technology,
Hardware & IoT, Marketing & Sales Technology, and Software & Data innovations.
Kyoto has had the most significant rise, jumping 127 spots to 124th and overtaking Osaka
for 2nd place, and also increasing the number of Japanese cities in the top 200 to three.
Osaka has also increased by 54 spots, ranking 3rd nationally. Japan’s startup city, Fukuoka,
has entered the rankings at 240th globally and secured rank 4 in Japan.
Nagoya at 246th and Sapporo at 768th have both decreased in the ranking. On the other
hand, Hiroshima at 697th and Tsukuba at 909th have both newly entered the rankings,
giving Japan 8 cities in the top 1000, versus only 5 in 2020.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Tokyo 15 +1 21.792 Hardware & IoT 6

2 Kyoto 124 +127 4.630 Health 14

3 Osaka 128 +54 4.564

4 Fukuoka 240 new 1.467

5 Nagoya 246 −38 1.404

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 100

Startup Ecosystem Overview
Being a tech pioneer comes naturally for Japan. In the 80’s, the world was stunned by
innovation after innovation originating in Japan, and giant companies such as Sony and
Panasonic emerged with outstanding products. However, the shift toward building massive
industrial consumer electronics and automobile companies and away from startups has
kept Japan from reaching its potential. It seems risk aversion is common for the Japanese
population; the abundance of high-quality corporate jobs and a tight job market are
creating a scarcity of talented and motivated entrepreneurs.
Japan should make improving the English-speaking level of its local population a priority,
considering its importance for startup founders. Japan is managing to gradually advance
its startup ecosystem with more investment and a slow mindset change of encouraging
entrepreneurship, mainly boosted by a government that fully understands the importance
of successful and innovative startup ecosystems. The core industries showing promise in
Japan are AI, Fintech, and Health Technology.
Interestingly, a daring and revolutionary VC venture is based in Japan. Softbank, led by
Masayoshi Son, has had its ups and downs. However, we hope the SoftBank mentality of
dreaming big and betting on massive changes will rub off on Japanese entrepreneurs, to
the benefit of its startup ecosystem. The Japanese government has recently been active
in Japan’s startup ecosystem development with the promotion of Fukuoka and Kyoto as
leading startup cities, in addition to state sponsored funding and accelerator programs for

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Kyoto’s
startup ecosystem.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 101

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Rakuten Pantheon

Tokyo, Japan
Rakuten, Inc offers over 70 services in three industries: internet services, fintech, and mobile.

 Softbank Pantheon

Tokyo, Japan
Softbank offers a variety of services such as internet services, mobile, energy, and robotics.

 Playco Unicorn

Tokyo, Japan
Playco is the world’s first instant gaming company, focused on building games that people can play
together without any additional app downloads.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 102

22 | Denmark

Denmark has maintained a stable position in the ranking.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking Denmark is ranked 22nd, maintaining its previous 2020
position. Denmark ranks 3rd in Scandinavia and 10th
in the EU, and the country’s Business score ranks 6th
Copenhagen jumped 6 spots to 61st globally, and the city
2019 2020 2021 ranks in the top 50 for E-commerce & Retail Technology,
Education Technology, Energy & Environment Technology,
and Hardware & IoT.
The city of Aarhus ranks 2nd nationally, with a jump of 17 spots to rank 228th globally,
while Odense ranks 3rd after a massive jump of 223 spots to 354th. At 4th, Aalborg
increased 78 spots to 506th globally, and Kolding is 5th in Denmark and 597th globally
after a 31 spot jump.
Although the country ranking has been stable, all Danish cities in our ranking have
increased their position, with the expectation of Hirtshals which decreased 238 spots to
937th. Herning is the newest Danish city to enter the top 1000 at rank 881, for a total of 7
ranked Danish cities.
The massive jump in most Danish cities this year shows the potential of the national
ecosystem to produce a global startup hub, just like its neighbor Sweden. The gap
between Denmark and higher ranked countries is much smaller than the gap between
Denmark and countries ranked lower, implying that if Denmark makes an extra effort, it is
well positioned to improve its national ranking next year.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry
Ecommerce &
1 Copenhagen 61 +6 7.055 39
2 Aarhus 228 +17 1.643

3 Odense 354 +223 0.687

4 Aalborg 506 +78 0.361

5 Kolding 597 +31 0.277

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 103

For that to happen, Danish policy makers should focus less on regulation and active
intervention and more on the general infrastructure and branding of their flourishing

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Denmark is well known as a progressive country with a high quality of life and talented
entrepreneurs, backed by lean regulation that provides tax benefits and minimizes red
tape. It’s no coincidence that global leaders in various fields, like shipping giant Maersk,
are based in Denmark; the potential of Danish entrepreneurs to lead global companies is
high. The Danish startup ecosystem, however, has yet to fulfill its true potential.
Some of this missed potential can be attributed to increased focus by policy makers on
topics such as gender balance and employee rights, which are critical for established
businesses, yet delay the growth of startups working in a chaotic environment. This
mindset and framework might explain why we see a lack of high impact Danish startups
over the last few years.
Danish founders are fully capable of building massive startups with global impact,
evidenced by the success of Danish startups like Zendesk and Unity. However, when
reaching maturity, these startups tend to move most of their operations to other countries,
mainly the United States. The Danish public sector is over-supportive of its entrepreneurs,
even to the point of introducing them to investors and potential partners. This is admirable,
but does not necessarily build the character and spirit needed by great founders. However,
clusters of outstanding innovation are happening in Denmark, most notably in the city of
Odense, which has the potential of becoming a global robotics hub.
If you have any doubts about what the Danish ecosystem could become, visit the Odense
Robotics Park and you will see how a small city can become a global leader in a deep
tech industry. We also recommend visiting Denmark for the growing regional tech event
TechBBQ, managed by the talented Avnit Singh.
Actions taken by Denmark’s policy makers will determine if the ecosystem fulfills its full
potential and starts closing gaps with its Swedish neighbor to become a global startup
leader, or if it will drift further back toward Norway, which is home to one of the world’s
most equal and correct ecosystems, but lacks the innovation necessary for impact on a
global scale.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 104

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
Copenhagen, Denmark
Planday fundamentally restructures the workplace by creating a real-time platform where
businesses and employees can collaborate.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Famly is developing a mobile app for families so that they can better manage their day and get all
family related information in one place.

Copenhagen, Denmark
Mailbird brings a world of productivity to your inbox on the most beautiful platform for email

Our Ecosystem Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 105

23 | Belgium

Belgium has 9 cities in the ranking with Antwerp, Leuven and Liege
experiencing the highest increases.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

Belgium has hopped up 1 spot to rank 23rd globally. The
highest ranking city in Belgium is the capital, Brussels,
which has fallen 8 spots to 72nd globally. Brussels is the
only Belgium city in the global top 150, and ranks in the
top 50 for Social & Leisure innovations.
2019 2020 2021
Ghent remains the 2nd ranked city nationally, increasing
its global ranking by 5 spots to 158th. 3rd nationally, the
city of Antwerp jumped 80 spots to 237th, while Leuven,
ranked 4th nationally, jumped 115 spots to rank 311th globally. Belgium’s most significant
increase was in Liege, which leapt 292 spots to 390th globally.
All other ranked cities in Belgium increased this year, with the exception of Waterloo which
fell by 118 spots to 667th. Belgium has 9 ranked cities, which is impressive considering the
population of the country.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

In 2020, Belgium joined the unicorn club, with Collibra now worth over $2 Billion US, a
major milestone for the ecosystem which will hopefully inspire more Belgian founders to
scale and become global leaders in their field. Belgium, from its capital Brussels, is the
nerve center of the EU, creating an advantage for local startups that are close to major
regional initiatives.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Brussels 72 −8 6.502 Social & Leisure 43

Marketing &
2 Ghent 158 +5 3.524 96
3 Antwerp 237 +80 1.497

4 Leuven 311 +115 0.866

5 Liege 390 +292 0.572

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 106

Thanks to the country’s geography, which hosts
most of the EU institutions as well as Europe’s Notable Startups and
second largest maritime port in Antwerp, startups
Ecosystem Champions
in Belgium are well positioned to expand into
the European and international markets. The
 Collibra Unicorn
majority of startups in Belgium are in industry
Brussels, Belgium
4.0, fintech, and health technology, and focus on
Collibra is a governance data
B2B. The public sector offers startups protection analytics solutions platform.
from competition, especially from foreign
tech companies, as well as providing funding  Salesflare
initiatives for early stage startups. Antwerp, Belgium
Salesflare is the intelligent CRM that
startups and small businesses love
to use.

Etterbeek, Belgium
Wooclap is an interactive platform
to make courses more dynamic and
to measure students’ understanding
through the use of smartphones.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 107

24 | Brazil

After a difficult year, Brazil has managed to stay in the top 25


Startup Ecosystem Ranking

After an outstanding jump of 17 spots in 2020, Brazil has
had a tough year, losing 4 spots to rank 24th, yet keeping
five cities in the top 200. Brazil is the highest ranked
startup ecosystem in Latin America. In spite of its decline,
Brazil maintains a sizable gap with Chile, the second
highest ranking country in the Latin America & Caribbean
2019 2020 2021
region. In 2020, Brazil’s score was 42% higher than Chile;
This year, it’s 47% higher.
Although São Paulo has fallen 2 spots to 20th globally, barely remaining in the top 20.
São Paulo is the highest ranked city in Latin America, followed by Mexico City, ranked
50th globally, showcasing the gap between São Paulo and other cities in the region. São
Paulo’s score remains more than double Mexico City’s, though the gap is smaller than last
year. São Paulo is not only a global fintech hub, but also ranked 19th for Transportation
Technology. The gap between São Paulo and the other ranked Brazilian cities is large and
needs to be closed if Brazil hopes to move up the rankings.
After a 39 spot jump, Curitiba is now ranked 2nd nationally, surpassing Rio de Janeiro and
Belo Horizonte. Rio de Janeiro has fallen by 55 spots, now ranking 3rd nationally and 148th
globally. Similarly, Belo Horizonte, 5th nationally, has registered a decrease of 53 spots to
154th globally. In 5th position nationally, Porto Alegre has increased by 12 spots to 188th

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 São Paulo 20 −2 17.642 Transportation 19

Ecommerce &
2 Curitiba 144 +39 4.053 77
3 Rio de Janeiro 148 −55 4.003 Education 94

4 Belo Horizonte 154 −53 3.763

5 Porto Alegre 188 +12 2.538

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 108

The majority of the other Brazilian cities have decreased in the rankings, with the exception
of Fortaleza’s increase of 113 spots to 444th, Salvador’s jump of 105 spots to 670th,
Maceio’s increase of 47 spots to 689th, Bauru’s increase of 10 spots to 938th, and Natal
jump of 20 spots to 949th. Brazil currently has 32 cities in the ranking after 5 new cities
entered the top 1000 this year. 12 of these 32 cities are in the top 500 list.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

The Brazilian startup ecosystem was on a strong trajectory until COVID-19 hit, and it now
has to rebuild some of what was lost to regain its positive momentum and maintain its
regional innovation and leadership role.
High-interest rates and a lack of private investment capital are not helpful in motivating
more Brazilians to become entrepreneurs or to keep their startups in the country as they
scale. Moreover, entrepreneurs are faced with high tax rates and outdated business laws,
and the Brazilian currency has been devalued for the last 10 years.
On the one hand, a low currency means that Brazil becomes a cheap location for foreign
investors, but on the other hand, foreign investors don’t like unstable economies. Another
challenge is that Brazil’s English proficiency is relatively low. This hinders expansion of local
startups to foreign markets. Even Latin American markets can be problematic for Brazilians,
as the spoken language in these countries is Spanish as opposed to Portuguese in Brazil.
However, considering the vast potential of the Brazilian market and a population of more
than 200 million people, the tech ecosystem meets all the prerequisites for rapid growth.
This is demonstrated by a growing number of unicorns, most of which cater to the local
market. We can only hope the pro-business climate endures while Brazil maintains,
protects, and leverages the unique natural resources of this beautiful country.
Large corporations in Brazil provide startups with accelerator programs and incubators as
well as strong funding opportunities. With innovative startups like VTEX and QuintoAndar
in São Paulo, Brazil has historically excelled in producing Latin American unicorns.
Considering the success of Brazil as a startup ecosystem, the country suffers from high
social inequality and lack of basic infrastructure in some parts of the country. For Brazil
to maintain its startup ecosystem development and encourage more startups, public
institutions should focus on promoting the country to foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
They also need to push for better development of startup ecosystems in smaller cities
within the country to foster innovation outside of São Paulo.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 109

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 Nubank Unicorn

São Paulo, Brazil

Nubank is a neobank and the largest financial technology bank in Latin America.

 iFood Unicorn

São Paulo, Brazil

iFood is a Brazilian on-demand food delivery company which uses innovative technology.

 EBANX Unicorn

Curitiba, Brazil
EBANX is an integrated international financial services company that owns the entire value chain for
cross-border payment processing, with no intermediaries involved.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 110

25 | UAE

After a massive jump, the UAE has increased to rank in the top 25.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking

The UAE has seen a truly remarkable jump of 18 spots to
rank 25th globally, but it will need to continue investing
to keep this position as the next two ranked countries,
Taiwan and Portugal, have an almost identical score and
both have positive growth momentum.
2019 2020 2021 Regionally, the UAE ranks 2nd in the Middle East, proving
it’s dominance as an innovation hub in the region.
The city of Dubai has jumped a massive 32 spots from 99th to rank 67th globally in 2021,
and is now the 3rd highest ranked city in the Middle East. Dubai also ranks in the top 50
globally for Software & Data.
Abu Dhabi has enjoyed an increase in the UAE, rising 146 spots to 169th globally and
joining Dubai in the global top 200. Additionally, Sharjah increased 27 spots to 722nd
globally. All together, the UAE has three cities in the rankings that have all made significant
position improvements this year, continuing their upward march from 2020.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

As a leader in the Arab region, the UAE’s startups are growing fast. With a high
concentration of technological innovation, Dubai is the strongest ecosystem hub city in
the Arab world and a popular relocation destination among Arab entrepreneurs from
all over the Middle East who are scaling their startups. Abu Dhabi is also becoming an
accomplished and successful startup ecosystem hub, and is home to multiple accelerators
and incubators as well as a very large local market.

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Dubai 67 +32 6.883 Software & Data 45

2 Abu Dhabi 169 +146 3.188

3 Sharjah 722 +27 0.202

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 111

An example of UAE potential concerns the
successful exit of Careem, which was sold to Notable Startups and
Uber for over $3 Billion, the first unicorn in the
Ecosystem Champions
Middle East outside of Israel. Considering the
size of the Arab-speaking market, potential is
 Emerging Markets
high, and the public sector should prioritize
Property Group Unicorn
preparation for a future era when oil revenue will
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
not be as substantial as it is today.
EMPG owns and operates bespoke
Continued business reforms by the government classifieds portals in emerging
can provide much needed legal and financial markets, primarily in the MENA,
infrastructure, such as laws that favor South Asia, and Southeast Asia
entrepreneurs and a banking system that
supports innovation. The recent update to  Careem Unicorn
bankruptcy law is a step in the right direction.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Another factor that contributes to the UAE’s Careem is a ride-hailing company
success as a startup ecosystem is the abundance that has expanded services to
of investment and funding opportunities include mass transportation,
available for entrepreneurs. A major challenge delivery, and payments.
for the UAE is bureaucracy and antiquated
 UrbanBuz Unicorn
business regulations, however, with help
from public sector initiatives, the government Dubai, United Arab Emirates
could develop a supportive legal and financial UrbanBuz is an AI powered
customer data experience platform,
framework for entrepreneurs throughout the enabling B2C businesses to deliver
region. a highly personalized customer

Our Ecosystem Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 112

26 | Taiwan

Taiwan has jumped 4 spots to rank 26th globally.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking The vibrant ecosystem of Taiwan has increased by 4

spots in the rankings to 26th globally. Taiwan is in a very
competitive area of the rankings; the countries at 25th
(UAE), 26th (Taiwan), 27th (Portugal), and 28th (Austria)
have almost identical scores, and any small change in
performance could shuffle these positions.
2019 2020 2021
Regionally, Taiwan is ranked 7th in Asia-Pacific, a
significant accomplishment for a relatively small country.
Taiwan is closing the gap with South Korea and Japan, since these two nations did not
improve in the rankings this year. Taiwan ranks 14th for Hardware & IoT and 15th for Health
Technology globally.
The highest ranked Taiwanese city, Taipei City, has gained 1 spot to rank 41st globally.
Taipei City ranks high for a number of industries: 8th for Hardware & IoT, 14th for
Marketing & Sales Technology, 28th for Education Technology, and 37th for Health
Technology innovations.
This year, Taiwan celebrates a major achievement as it adds five new cities to the rankings:
Hsinchu at 285th, Taoyuan City at 510th, Tainan City at 749th, Taichung City at 870th, and
Kaohsiung City at 904th. Taiwan has gone from 1 ranked city in 2020 to 6 cities in a single

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Taipei City 41 +1 10.450 Hardware & IoT 8

2 Hsinchu 285 new 1.087 Hardware & IoT 26

3 Taoyuan City 510 new 0.357

4 Tainan City 749 new 0.191

5 Taichung City 870 new 0.150

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 113

Startup Ecosystem Overview
Taiwan has been a role model to the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. A smart public
sector working together with its population has not only been effective in containing
the virus but has also innovated extensively to help the world find new ways to confront
the pandemic. Taiwan has always been a nation of innovation; many of the world’s
manufactured goods were produced here before China opened its doors to the global
economy. However, focus in Taiwan is shifting toward startups, and the results are already
encouraging. Various leading government organizations, such as the Taiwan Tech Arena,
are investing heavily in developing the country’s startup ecosystem and taking part
in promoting it globally, with initiatives such as the Employment Gold Card, aimed at
attracting foreign talent to the island nation.
Taiwan focuses on global integration with other startup ecosystems since its local market
is too small for startups to focus solely on domestic solutions, unlike high population
countries, such as India and China. Taiwan has many large and impressive tech companies,
like Foxconn and Asus, giving the ecosystem a unique edge in anything Hardware-related.
Foreign companies such as Google are also heavily investing in data centers on the Island.
One of the challenges Taiwan shares with other Asian nations that are home to global
corporations is convincing the local population to forgo safe, guaranteed jobs and
embrace entrepreneurism. Hopefully, as more Taiwanese startups become successful,
mindsets will shift to create a critical mass of successful startups that will choose to scale
and go global. It is also a positive sign for the appeal of the country to see that one the
world’s most renowned tech bloggers and a global thought leader on our map, Ben
Thompson from Stratechery, is based in Taiwan.

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Taipei’s
startup ecosystem.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 114

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
Taipei City, Taiwan
BigGo is a product search engine capable of finding and retrieving products from existing shopping

Taipei City, Taiwan
Appier is a Taipei-based startup providing an AI powered platform to brands and retailers to help
increase customer engagement.

Taipei City, Taiwan
Health2Sync develops systems that transform smartphones into legacy medical devices and smart
health monitoring machines.

Our Ecosystem Partner

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 115

27 | Portugal

Portugal has re-entered the top 30.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking After a tough year in 2020, when all Portuguese cities
were declining, this year Portugal turned it around by
jumping 4 spots to re-enter the top 30 at 27th globally. In
addition, four Portuguese cities climbed in the rankings,
Including the capital city of Lisbon, which increased 3
spots to 82nd globally. Lisbon also ranks 48th globally in
2019 2020 2021
the Software & Data industry, and 62nd in FoodTech.
The second highest ranked city, Porto, has seen a
significant increase of 21 spots to rank 120th globally. Most ranked cities in Portugal have
increased in the ranking this year, with the exception of Braga which fell 19 spots to 296th.
We have also seen Guimaraes and Leiria leave the rankings this year, decreasing the total
number of cities Portugal can claim in the top 1000. With Aveiro as the only new city to
enter the ranking at 583rd, Portugal now has 6 cities in the ranking.

Startup Ecosystem Overview

Portugal’s startup ecosystem has seen steady and significant growth, however there is still
much that requires development. The nation is home to high-tech companies focused on
the exchange and sharing of knowledge, as well as to local innovators aiming to create
jobs and growth in the country. A notable Portuguese exit is FarFetch, a luxury shopping
platform. Additionally, some Portuguese unicorns include OutSystems, TalkDesk, and

National Global Rank Change Total Overperforming

Rank Rank (from 2020) Score Industry

1 Lisbon 82 +3 6.113 Software & Data 48

E-commerce &
2 Porto 120 +21 4.763 70
3 Braga 296 −19 0.991

4 Coimbra 497 +5 0.370

5 Aveiro 583 new 0.288

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 116

One of the most impressive resources of the Portuguese ecosystem is the abundance
of high quality engineering talent and English speakers. Lisbon is still a very popular
destination for digital nomads thanks to the relatively low cost of living, good weather, and
solid infrastructure of the country. Most recently, and due to the favorable tax policies on
cryptocurrencies, there has been a movement of entrepreneurs interested in decentralized
finance and cryptocurrencies in Portugal.
Additionally, Portugal offers options to non-european residents launching startups, such
as the golden visa or startup visa. With government initiatives aimed at promoting and
developing the startup ecosystem, and with easy access to the European market, Portugal
is set to be one of the stronger startup ecosystems in Europe. The economic ties to Brazil,
with whom Portugal shares a common language, also provide Portuguese startups access
to a huge Brazilian market.
That said, Portugal's startup ecosystem is still not fulfilling its full potential, although the
public sector has put substantial resources toward making this happen. The public sector
is aware of the strategic importance of entrepreneurship, and we hardly see any other
countries allocating so many resources toward improving local startup ecosystems. Those
efforts have shown limited results, but there is still much to improve. One pressing issue
has to do with national mindset and culture, which is relatively risk averse.
Portugal’s commitment to its startup ecosystem was evidenced by the recent decision to
bring the Web Summit to Lisbon. This event creates massive branding benefits for Portugal,
but even an event like this could not wake the country’s startup ecosystem. It would be
wise for the government to focus on reforms, both to remove red tape and encourage
private sector startup investment.
Some positive news for the Portugese ecosystem concerns Lisbon becoming a popular
destination for expats, digital nomads, and lifestyle business owners. This is due to several
factors, including government initiatives that attract foreign talent and a relatively low
cost of living, as well as the beauty and comfortable weather of Portugal. This trend could
create a grassroots movement of lifestyle businesses that will spur growth in the startup
ecosystem, but it should not be expected to take Portugal to the next level of global
scaleups. The bottom line is still the same: considering the amount of investment in the
Portuguese ecosystem, the results are disappointing.

Please refer to the ecosystem case study section to read a detailed analysis of Lisbon's
startup ecosystem.

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 117

Notable Startups and Ecosystem Champions
 OutSystems Unicorn

Lisbon, Portugal
OutSystems is a low-code platform which provides tools for companies to develop, deploy and
manage omnichannel enterprise applications.

 TalkDesk Unicorn

Lisbon, Portugal
Talkdesk is a contact center and AI software provider.

 Feedzai Unicorn

Porto, Portugal
Feedzai is the market leader in fighting fraud with AI.

Our Ecosystem Partners

2021 | StartupBlink View the Global Startup Map p. 118

28 | Austria

Austria has maintained its position at rank 28.

Startup Ecosystem Ranking Austria has maintained its position from last year at 28th
globally. Austria’s ranking is impacted positively by a very
strong business environment: Austria's Business score is
10th worldwide and better than several countries in the
global top 10, including Israel, Germany, China, Australia,
and Singapore. Austrian industries rank in the top 25 for
2019 2020 2021
Hardware & IoT, Software & Data, and Marketing & Sales
As for Austrian cities, Vienna has decreased by 1 spot to 85th globally, and ranks high
in three industries: 76th for Social & Leisure Technology, 77th for Marketing & Sales
Technology, and 81st for Hardware & IoT. Vienna is in a precarious place, and should be
proactive in avoiding any further decline in the rankings; a number of cities ranked below
Vienna, including the three subsequent cities (Chengdu, Manila, and Sacramento), have
seen positive growth momentum and could easily rise in ranking next year.
The second highest ranked city in Austria, Graz, has increased 18 spots to 202nd globally,
and ranks high at 126th in the Software & Data industry. Ranked 3rd nationally, Linz has
jumped 173 spots to 307th globally. On the other hand, Salzbur